Cellpic Sunday – Falun Gong

A peaceful protest in Montreal’s Chinatown section.

Montreal, Canada.

On our brisk walk through Montreal’s Chinatown one chilly Friday afternoon, we saw this interesting building and three people meditating. I snapped the photo with my Samsung S23U and quickly moved on. When we got home and I started processing the photo, I could read at least part of the signage I’d captured describing the reason for what I discovered to be a protest.

The headings, in French and English, on the sign closest to the camera read, “Global Peaceful Resistance to the Persecution of Falun Gong.” A little Internet research told me of something that was totally new to me. Falun Gong is not an ancient Chinese religion as I might have guessed. It’s not a religion at all. According to Wikipedia, “It’s a spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.”

Established in 1992, the practice of Falun Gong soon came to the attention of the Chinese government. Originally the discipline was supported by the Chinese authorities but by 1999, the practice fell out of favor with the government. Practitioners have been tortured and killed in China and around the world for their practice.

About the photo: Captured with my Samsung S23U, the composition was interesting to me because of the design of the building, the bust of an unknown (to us) Chinese person, and the act of meditation that was going on. As cold as it was, we didn’t take the time then to read the signs or I might have paused to capture some additional images.

Processing the image in Adobe Lightroom was interesting as while we were on our journey, an update to Adobe Lightroom brought more powerful processing tools to the program. As it turned out, I didn’t specifically need the AI noise reduction feature for this image. I played a bit with the masking features but eventually didn’t use them. I sent it off to Luminar Neo for final tweaks and called it done.

Side note: For an experiment, instead of using my usual tools, Firefox browser and Duck Duck Go search engine, for my background search about Falun Gong, I tried Bing’s Chat AI tool to do this research. I was impressed with the quick responses and quoting of sources for my basic questions about Falun Gong. I found it interesting what happened, though, when I asked the specific question, “Why are practitioners of Falun Gong being persecuted?”

The Chat AI program actually generated a lengthy response that I started to read, but then that text disappeared, replaced with, “Sorry! That’s on me, I can’t give a response to that right now. What else can I help you with?”

In learning about Bing Chat’s AI tool, before trying this experiment, I found that since the program is in Beta, there are issues with getting results. I re-asked the question. The same lengthy response was generated, but before I could finish reading the first sentence, the text again disappeared and the same “Sorry…” message reappeared. I waited about 10 minutes and tried the question again. The lengthy response reappeared and disappeared as quickly as before. This time, the message changed. “Hmm…let’s try a different topic. Sorry about that. What else is on your mind?” If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say something is up here. >grin<

Later that day, I decided to try ChatGPT’s online site rather than Bing’s Chat interface. As it turned out, ChatGPT generated a five-paragraph answer that didn’t disappear. I don’t know if it was basically the same response as Bing’s chat rejected, but it seemed accurate as far as I could guess, anyway. The first paragraph reads, “The Chinese government banned the spiritual practice of Falun Gong in 1999 and has since launched a campaign to suppress and persecute its practitioners. The reasons behind this persecution are complex and controversial…” The chat function in Bing still generates a response that disappears before I could read it.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment. Oh, and, you don’t have to post it on a Sunday.

John Steiner


  1. Interesting piece Johnbo
    I often do the same on a photo only to find some interesting info
    Like I just did on some doors I snapped

  2. Interesting post, John. So much should be discussed about ChatGPT and other AI resources, let’s call them that. I’ve been playing with Adobe Firefly which generates images from text (at the moment) and it’s interesting how it shows the limitations it has (at the moment too, I suppose). Your experience shows anything can be manipulated, I’m not a conspiracy theorist either but it is odd…
    Here is mine:

    Cellpic Sunday – Glasgow

    • I don’t take enough time to get background on places I discover when I grab cellpics. I should think about that more. I took a snap of an old bridge in Spain and when I got ready to publish it, I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about it. I could have asked our tour guide or stopped at a local info center and maybe found out more.

  3. What an interesting story and photo. The response to your question was particularly enlightening. They knew you’d tried that topic, and were giving you a not so mile suggestion to drop it. It sounds like a spy movie! Here’s my post for this week. Still processing and classifying in Lightroom – all pictures at the Butterfly Wonderland taken with my 12mini. Others included pics taken with my Canon Rebel xT1.

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