Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Falun Gong Art Exhibition

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the website mentioned in the article.

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Monday, July 4, 2005 (SF Chronicle)SAN FRANCISCO/Provocative art from Falun Gong followers/Paintings on tour to publicize China's alleged persecutionVanessa Hua, Chronicle Staff Writer

After a one-week run in the lobby of San Francisco's Federal Building, an exhibit of gruesome paintings put on by China's controversial Falun Gong movement is heading to Chinatown and other Bay Area locations. The show, which also includes depictions of more peaceful moments in a believer's life, has toured more than 30 cities across the United States, at times drawing complaints.

One of the paintings shows a woman being crushed between two boards,another a woman being beaten by police as cherubs fly above and a third, by Oakland artist Yao Chongqi, called "Unwavering Spirit," depicts a woman who police have poked with a cattle prod who is bleeding from the head as she slogs through snow. The exhibit of more than 40 pieces aims to publicize how the Chinesegovernment allegedly has tortured Falun Gong followers. It reaches viewers on a deeper level than demonstrations, leafleting and other forms ofprotest, organizers say.

"People usually appreciate artwork and are more into it," said exhibit organizer Huy Lu of Daly City. "They really watch it and look at thedescriptions. Sometimes when you see the truth, it's not easy to accept, but that's what is going on." The U.S. General Services Administration, which manages the FederalBuilding and approved the Falun Gong application, offers the space foreducational, cultural and recreational activities, said local spokeswoman Bethany Kirchoff.

Building managers did not consider the content of theFalun Gong artwork when reviewing its application, Kirchoff said. But she said they reject many requests including those that involve politicalsolicitation. Lu said he wanted to display the exhibit in the Federal Building because it would reach a large audience of government workers, and the space was free. The Mount Sinai
School of Medicine in New York yanked the exhibit last fall within a day, after visitors and staff said it disrupted thehospital's healing atmosphere. Workers at San Francisco's Federal Building said the exhibit was both disturbing and enlightening. Jose Saucedo, a painter for the building,deemed the exhibit "very emotional." "It's real, and it's happening. There are so many persecutions," he said.

Exhibit volunteer Ivan Velinov, 33, of San Francisco, said he tried to explain to viewers why the persecution of Falun Gong should matter toAmericans.

"Everything in stores is made in China. All the factories are moving to China," said Velinov, a Bulgarian immigrant who began practicing FalunGong about 2 1/2 years ago. "China is influencing our society. But China is the No. 1 violator of human rights. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco did not return calls for comment.

Several Chinatown community leaders said they had no objections to the upcoming Falun Gong exhibit. "I am pro-democracy," said businessman Allen Leung. "We have freedom of expression." He said he liked the martial arts and positive psychological aspects of Falun Gong, though not what he sees as its superstitious elements. Feng Wang, 34, a senior manager at a high-tech company, said Falun Gong helped her become less stressed and more healthy, truthful andcompassionate. Adherents of Falun Gong, who practice traditional Chinese breathingexercises for physical, mental and spiritual well-being, were rounded up in China in 1999, and some of their leaders were convicted of organizing a cult. The group's ability to organize protests of more than 10,000demonstrators via word-of-mouth and the Internet alarmed the Chinesegovernment, which fears large gatherings as threats to Communist control.

Independently confirming Falun Gong followers' reports of persecution is almost impossible, said Mickey Spiegel, a researcher at Human Rights Watch in New York. But she said some no doubt happens. Spiegel said since the crackdown, Falun Gong followers have done whatever possible to keep the movement visible.. To see the Falun Gong art exhibit online, go to www.falunart. org. The exhibit will be on display 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 16 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 17 at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, 836 Stockton St., San Francisco. E-mail Vanessa Hua at ----------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright 2005 SF Chronicle

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