Why U.S. Flags Were Raised at the Capitol to Celebrate a Chinese Spiritual Practice

US flag flying at Capitol Building.

The U.S. flag that flew in honor of World Falun Dafa Day in front of the Capitol building in Washington on May 13, 2020. (York Du via The Epoch Times)

On May 13, millions of people around the world celebrate the Chinese spiritual practice of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. This year, two U.S. flags were hoisted over the Capitol building in Washington in recognition of Falun Dafa and its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi.

Li first taught Falun Dafa to the public on that day in 1992 in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, instructing a group of about 80 students in meditation exercises and moral self-improvement according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Since then, an estimated 70-100 million people in more than 100 countries have taken up the practice.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

Adherents regard May 13 as World Falun Dafa Day. And while many officials around the world have issued proclamations in support of the practice before, this year marks the first time such an event happened at the U.S. federal level.

The flag-raising was requested by Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, and the flags were later mailed to a Falun Dafa practitioner residing in the state.

Certifications of the two American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2020.
Certifications of the two American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2020. (Image: Jennie Sheeks via The Epoch Times)

The CCP has persecuted this Chinese spiritual practice since 1999

Despite its peaceful and apolitical teachings, Falun Dafa has been persecuted in communist China since 1999, when then-leader Jiang Zemin saw the spiritual practice as a threat to Party rule.

More than 20 years after the repression began, the U.S. government is now taking the Communist Party to task for its persecution of the country’s various faiths.

“On World Falun Dafa Day, we strive to uphold the universal tenets of truthfulness, compassion, & forbearance, ideals that are fundamental to the expression of the Falun Gong faith,” Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, said on May 13 in a message of support on Twitter.

Falun Dafa is one of the most persecuted groups in China, along with Muslims and Christians. Under Jiang Zemin’s orders, Falun Gong practitioners who refused to give up their faith could be thrown into labor camps, tortured, or even killed for their organs. Human rights researchers investigating this crime believe that hundreds of thousands of people may have been murdered by the regime this way.

Elected officials in multiple countries expressed support for Falun Dafa on the anniversary of Li’s first teaching the practice in China, and called attention to the continued repression in China.

“This day recognizes the millions of people around the world that have found this ancient Chinese culture practice to be key in addressing stresses and anxiety of modern-day life,” Rep. Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania wrote in a letter.

Practitioners from the Chinese spiritual practice Falun Gong perform the exercises at a rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill on July 18, 2019.
Practitioners from the Chinese spiritual practice Falun Gong perform the exercises at a rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill on July 18, 2019. (Image: Samira Bouaou via The Epoch Times)

Pennsylvania state senator Tom Killion said that Falun Gong was “a powerful mechanism for relieving stress and healing.” Senator John Cornyn of Texas praised Falun Gong for setting a “positive example to the world.”

In the more than two decades of persecution, Falun Dafa adherents and their supporters have sought to peacefully raise awareness about the practice and the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes. In China, human rights groups estimate that millions of practitioners are still active.

While World Falun Dafa Day usually involves large parades and meditation events, the COVID-19 pandemic this year means adherents have had to mark the occasion with activities at home or in small groups.

Tamara Jansen, a Conservative Party member of Canada’s Parliament, wrote: “Though the festivities are taking place in a different form this year, the Falun Dafa principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance are being honored and celebrated.”

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

A submerged Buddha statue.

Buddha Statues, Ancient Towns, and Churches Emerge as Water Levels Drop

As the Earth moves through its phases, land masses keep rising to the ocean’s surface ...

Young woman smiling as she looks down at a butterfly.

What Is the Ultimate Purpose of Reincarnation?

Many cases of reincarnation have been relayed by people from both Eastern and Western countries. ...

Apples hanging on trees.

4 Apple Recipes to Turn Anyone Into a Pro

Baking with apples is usually challenging for first-timers which is why not many beginners do ...

Cardboard cutouts shaped like people stand on a table with a bright light behind them.

7 Boundaries That Will Help Sustain Lifelong Relationships

As human beings, we must keep a “bottom line” or set some kind of boundaries ...

Lauren Tischendorf swimming around Lord Howe Island.

Lauren Tischendorf: First Woman to Swim Shark-Infested Waters Around Lord Howe Island

The past decade has seen long-distance women swimmers achieve extraordinary feats. For example, Lauren Tischendorf ...

Deaf restaurant staff.

Deaf-Owned Restaurants and How They Speak the Language of Good Food

Deaf-owned restaurants are challenging the status quo and proving that you don’t need audible words ...

Splashing water.

How Much Hydration Do You Need Before Bed to Sleep Better?

We’ve all wondered how much hydration is adequate to get through the day. But have ...

Principal of Tsinghua University Mei Yiqi.

Mei Yiqi: President of Tsinghua University Helped His Heroic Wife To Sell Snacks on the Street

In December 1948 (the 37th year of the Republic of China), many intellectuals were faced ...

The River Thames flowing through London.

How the River Thames was Brought Back to Life

London’s River Thames once became a dead river due to the industrial revolution of England.  ...

Send this to a friend