On Aug. 14, more than 60,000 people showed up for the 50th annual City2Surf, a 14 km long-run fund-raising event from Sydney’s CBD to Bondi. This is the first return of the charity event since the pandemic.
“Over the past 50 years, City2Surf has transformed from a humble, local road race to the world’s largest fun run, attracting more than 85,000 participants from across the globe,” reads the event’s website.
As in previous years, local Falun Gong practitioners came to Tingira Memorial Park in Rose Bay, a must-see location for those running in the race, early in the morning to display banners and demonstrate Falun Gong’s five exercises.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation practice that features moral teachings based on three core tenets, “truthfulness, compassion, forbearance,” along with five sets of meditative exercises.
However, fearful of its popularity as an independent ideology outside of its control, the Chinese communist regime banned the practice in 1999 and has been persecuting practitioners in China until now.
The banners of “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” were prominent on the day. The neat scene of Falun Gong practitioners wearing yellow shirts and the peaceful music of the practice also attracted the attention of the events participants.
Some runners stopped to talk with Falun Gong practitioners, some watched the exercise demonstrations, some took pictures, some accepted the lotus flowers from practitioners, and some joined the team to learn the exercises.
“It’s beautiful to watch. It’s very calming and relaxing,” Benedetta Nissotti, the co-founder of a design company, told NTD TV.
“I think the world definitely need more of these (events) to bring more peace, joy, and beauty to the world.”
“Thank you for doing this. It’s gorgeous.”
Ms. Bai, who organized the event, said Sydney Falun Gong community has formally applied to demonstrate the exercises and collect signatures at the City2Surf event since 2015.
“Over the past few years, the Falun Gong community has been spreading the beauty and peace of Falun Dafa at City2Surf, a large-scale public charity event in Sydney,” Bai said. “Through the ‘End CCP’ campaign, Falun Gong practitioners are also calling attention to the dangers of the CCP to the world.”
The CCP’s cover-up has led to the spread of the CCP Virus around the world. In order to help the public understand the nature of the CCP and stay away from the pandemic, the Global Tuidang Center based in New York launched the “End the evil CCP” campaign in June 2020. To date, the number of signatories to the global campaign in Australia has exceeded 480,000.
Many runners also signed to show their support of the “End CCP” campaign.
“I think I should be signing in that,” David Price, a runner, said. “I think people should voice their thoughts on looking after nations such as Taiwan and how the communist party is getting into countries around the world.”
“I think there’s a lot of support [of Falun Gong] in Australia,” said Paul Godden, another runner. “Sometimes you don’t voice it, but it’s there.”
Deborah Rice, who participated in the charity run, said she signed the “End CCP” petition because of human rights.
“It’s human rights,” Rice told The Epoch Times. “People have a choice to do this peaceful movement. I don’t agree with what the government’s doing.”
Vanessa Arbon, who came all the way from Melbourne to participate in the charity run, signed the petition and said she has many Chinese friends who do not support communism at all.
She said it’s important to sign the petition to end the CCP’s persecution of the Falun Gong for doing what is true and good.
Arbon had already heard about the persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP, but she learned more about the goodness of Falun Gong on the event day. She said that she must sign the letter in solidarity with Falun Gong practitioners to make more people aware of the CCP’s persecution of the group.