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RFA: Falun Gong Practitioner Ordered to Take off T-Shirt during Chinese Embassy Sponsored Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

According to a news article that RFA published, a Falun Gong practitioner said that when the Dragon Boat Festival was held in Ottawa,  Canada’s capital, last month, he appeared at the event wearing a T-shirt with the words “Falun Dafa” on it. {Falun Gong is also known as Falun Dafa.} The event organizer of the Dragon Boat Festival went up to him and ordered him to take off his T-shirt, saying that the Dragon Boat Festival was an event that the Chinese Embassy sponsored.

Gerry Smith recalled that John Brooman, the event organizer, told him that this is a Chinese cultural activity. The Chinese government paid tens of thousands of dollars to help rent the park. They don’t allow political messages to appear in this park. Brooman later threatened to expel other Falun Gong practitioners from the park. On the official website of the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, the Chinese Embassy is clearly listed as the “gold sponsor” of the event. Smith later sent an e-mail to Brooman expressing his disappointment and said that he will also file a complaint with the Ottawa City Council. Brooman wrote back to Smith saying that he didn’t intend to offend him and that he did not want to politicize the event. Smith said, however, that he only wore a Falun Gong T-shirt. Other Falun Gong practitioners were practicing the exercises outside the dragon boat event venue and did not hold banners or distribute flyers. Ottawa City officials told Smith that no one can ask him to take off his clothes. He can report the incident if it happens again. Both Brooman and the Chinese Embassy did not respond to RFA inquiries.

A representative from the Falun Gong group in Ottawa told RFA that this is not the first time that Communist China has used money to exercise its control in Canada. It disregards Canada’s fundamental values and tries to exercise its influence. This is exactly how they export the persecution overseas. Another example is that, each year, the Falun Gong group in Ottawa has been kept from participating in the annual parade that is held in Chinatown.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 18, 2019