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Exclusion of Falun Gong from the Santa Parade

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 22 November 2006

A peaceful appeal; please reconsider the exclusion of Falun Gong from the Farmers Santa Parade

Members of Falun Gong's Divine Land Band, a brass band which was originally accepted into the parade until organisers knew the band comprised Falun Gong practitioners, will appeal to organisers of the parade to reconsider their decision to exclude Falun Gong from this years parade.

On October 27 Falun Gong members were denied entry into the Auckland Santa Parade for the sixth year in a row.

Their 2006 application was initially welcomed as Parade organisers said a 60-piece brass band would be a great addition to the parade. There was also an offer of $250 to help band members as they are all volunteers.

When organisers were subsequently told the band members comprised Falun Gong members, the application was withdrawn on the grounds that the "organization does not 'fit' with the Santa Parade," and would not, "turn children's fantasies into reality, to delight families staging an annual fantasy Santa Parade to herald the start of the festive season in Auckland."

"We do not think that our status as Falun Gong practitioners means our band is any less of a "fit' with the Farmers Santa Parade. We cultivate the virtues of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. These are values associated with Christmas," said Shelley Shao of the Falun Gong group.

Falun Gong have been welcomed at many Christmas parades over the years including; Howick, North Shore, Blockhouse Bay, Hamilton, Rotorua, Hastings, Palmerston North, the Greater Wellington area, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.since 2001.

Previous parade entries affirm public support and the wish for Falun Gong practitioners to celebrate with the community. Falun Gong got 5 prizes for participating the Christmas parade.

Members of the Divine Land Band will line up outside the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Auckland, where the Farmers Santa Parade Trust, is based to ask the Trust reconsider their decision to exclude Falun Gong for the sixth consecutive year.


Where: Chamber of Commerce Building,
100 Mayoral Drive,
Auckland

When: Wednesday November 22
12:00pm - 5:30pm

ENDS

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