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Falun Gong discriminated against in New Zealand

Falun Gong discriminated against in New Zealand

Marching band welcomed into Farmers Santa Parade until organisers knew musicians were Falun Gong

On October 27 Falun Gong members were denied entry into the Auckland Santa Parade for the fifth 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When organisers were subsequently told the band members comprised Falun Gong members, the application was withdrawn on the grounds that the “organization does not 'fit' with the Santa Parade,” and would not, “turn children’s fantasies into reality, to delight families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 Dafa practitioners means our band is any less of a “fit’ with the 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 Dafa parade contingents have been warmly received in numerous Christmas parades throughout Auckland and New Zealand since 2001.

Previous parade entries affirm public support and the wish for Falun Dafa practitioners to celebrate with the community. In Panmure they are celebrated as the 2001 and 2004 winners of the Christmas -religious category and runners-up in 2003.

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.

ends

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