Noise from drills and traffic shook the ground. Reporters and passers-by sweated under the sun. But smiling contentedly, Lee Tse, a 72-year-old Falun Gong practitioner, was a picture of serenity.
"If your heart and soul are at peace, you won't be affected by the heat and noise," said the grandmother, one of the 200 Falun Gong followers meditating outside the Xinhua headquarters in Happy Valley yesterday to protest against the banning of the group on the mainland.
Ms Lee has been practising Falun Gong since 1994, and said it rejuvenated her body and soul. She said she had suffered from a variety of illnesses in the past.
"But now I am much healthier. More importantly, my temper and spirits have also improved."
She said she could not understand the mainland Government's decision to ban Falun Gong and would continue to practise it regardless of Beijing's propaganda.
"We are all good people and always obey the law. I have never participated in any protest before since I have no interest in politics.
"But this time I think I need to stand out and tell others that these slanderous accusations against us are unfounded and false."
Ms Lee, who lives in North Point, goes to Victoria Park every morning to practise Falun Gong. She said practitioners were still going to the park despite the mainland ban.
Fellow follower Albert Kwok Yau-yan said: "It's about being a good person in ordinary life. The exercises are not as important.
"It's like a car - you can polish it every day but that won't make it go unless you put the fuel in. "It's the energy inside that counts, not what you see on the outside."
Three-year-old May Kwok Mei-chun, meditating beside her mother, said: "We are here to protect Falun Gong."
But she was less than happy after meditating for hours in high temperatures.
"I don't know what we are protesting against. This is not fun."
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