NEW YORK: Spiritual group Falun Gong is stepping up its visibility,
and has been using the MWW Group to publicize its cause.
Supporters and practitioners of the group marched from New York City to
Washington, DC last week to protest the crackdown against their group
that started two years ago in China. The controversial group enlisted
the aid of MWW to raise awareness about its plight, as well as to gain
media relations experience.
Walkers left New York on July 3, and are stopping for press conferences
in Philadelphia and Baltimore before arriving in DC. On July 19, Falun
Gong members from several US cities will march from the Washington
Monument to the Capitol.
MWW is organizing the media in DC. Its focus will be combating negative
PR about the group, increasing awareness among politicians, and
showcasing what it considers to be a major human rights issue.
"Since there is no hierarchy to the group, it's been difficult to get
them organized," said Bill Murray, SVP of public affairs for MWW. "We've
been teaching them how to organize, what to wear, what signs to carry,
and what to say in their speeches. We even selected the parade route
they will go along. The point is to corral their energy and sincerity,
and put it into a focus that the American media can understand."
Gail Rachlin, spokesperson for Falun Gong, said, "The march is an urgent
call to stop persecuting Falun Gong members in China."
Several Falun Gong followers in China have been killed, and tens of
thousands have been detained in the last two years. Fifteen female Falun
Gong members died in jail last week. According to the Chinese
government, the members hanged themselves. But according to Friends of
Falun Gong, they were executed.