December 10th was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Around the world, communities, groups, and individuals joined to celebrate Human Rights Day.
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Supporters of a meditative movement called Falun Dafa whose principles are to strive to become kinder people by following Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, started a week-long signature drive in Kobe City’s central business district on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2018.
The self-cultivation teaching for mind spirit and body was founded by Li Hongzhi, who introduced it to the public in May 1992 in Changchun, Jilin. Following a period of rapid growth in the 1990s, the Communist Party launched a campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong on 20 July 1999.
Jiang Zemin is the former Communist Party leader of China ordered the persecution and killing of innocent Falun Gong practitioners in 1999 which is ongoing.
They collected signatures at the East entrance of Motomachi Station for a petition that calls for the international society to bring Jiang Zemin to justice.
Tens of thousands of tourists and local residents pass through the Motomachi Station every day. 10 December was a freezing day but one can’t help admiring the group as they braved the cold to stand up for their rights.
Directly outside of the East entrance is a plaza. They set up banners with SOS Stop Persecution of Falun Gong,” “Stop Organ Harvesting,” and “Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice” in both English and Japanese.
Supporters broadcasted two recordings in turn: a two-minute and a five-minute introduction of the event.
Many people came signed their petition, saying that they had heard the broadcast while waiting for the traffic lights.
Other people said they had read a flier that practitioners were handing out and came over to sign the petition.
The signature drive coincided with the annual Kobe Luminarie festival where more than 500,000 LED lights illuminate the streets and architecture of the city to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake that killed 6000 people in 1995.
According to the festival website, more than three million visitors have come to Kobe for the festival every year since 2004.