Falun Gong begins PR initiative in US

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.

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