Falun Gong protesters says they will not be budging from outside the ABC in Sydney, until the national broadcaster apologises for claims in a recent Foreign Correspondent report.
For the past month, protestors have sat in silence or held signs up to traffic over what they say is the ABC’s misrepresentation of their beliefs and practices.
The report, aired by the ABC in late July, presents a wide array of claims including that the Falun Gong is affiliated with US President Donald Trump’s administration and that it supports his anti-Beijing stand.
Nineteen-year-old protestor Natalie* said the report has “taken away from the practitioners who have experienced the extent of the persecution by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)”.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is described as the spiritual practice of meditation and self-improvement.
Since it was founded in 1992, practitioners say they have experienced continuous persecution by the CCP – with claims of torture, imprisonment, illegal organ harvesting and killing.
But the practice has been likened to a cult, which likely explains what Natalie calls a “mixed response” to the protest.
“Some people have ripped up our flyers right in front of our faces or made horrible remarks, ” she said.
They have also received support, “with some cars passing by, honking their horns in support, or community members taking a flyer to understand what we’re doing.”
In an official statement, the Falun Dafa Association of Australia says that the ABC report “closely tracks with the discredited propaganda narratives that the Chinese Communist Party has used to incite hatred against Falun Gong.”
The ABC is yet to release an official response.
No other news organisation has approached the protestors for comment.
— Rachel Clark