Why Falun Gong Practitioners Appealed to Higher Authorities on April 25, 1999
This article was first published in May 2010.
(Minghui.org) Appealing to the government is a citizen's constitutional right. On April 25, 1999, about 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to appeal at the State Council on Fuyou Street in Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) media then fabricated a lie that Falun Gong had organized an attack on Zhongnanhai. As a result, many people were fooled by the CCP and said that if practitioners hadn't organized such an "attack", there wouldn't be a persecution.
The April 25 appeal isn't the real reason why the CCP began its persecution of Falun Gong. The CCP had been trying unsuccessfully for several years to find an excuse to ban the practice. Using the April 25 incident as reason for the persecution was intentionally planned by Luo Gan and his gang.
Before April 25, 1999
The cultivation environment for Falun Gong began to deteriorate in 1996. It began with the Guangming Daily publishing an article that slandered Falun Gong. Then, the CCP's Central Propaganda Department prohibited the publication of any Falun Gong books and audio-visual materials. In early 1997, Luo Gan ordered the Public Security Bureau to search for any evidence to use against Falun Gong. In May of 1998, Luo Gan's relative, He Zuoxiu, who works at Beijing Television Station, appeared on "Beijing Express" to slander Falun Gong. By July 1998, the Public Security Bureau issued Public Administration No. 555 with the title, "On Notice to Investigate Falun Gong". On April 11, 1999, He Zuoxiu published another article in a magazine sponsored by the Education College in Tianjin City to attack Falun Gong. By April 23, Tianjin police officers had arrested over 40 practitioners who went to the Education College to clarify the facts about Falun Gong.
Why did practitioners appeal on April 25, 1999?
I am a practitioner in Beijing and participated in the April 25 appeal. I vividly remember what happened. On April 24, 1999, I went to group study and a fellow practitioner told me about Tianjin police officers physically assaulting practitioners who went to clarify the facts about Dafa at the Education College. Many practitioners were hurt and 45 were arrested. When other practitioners went to ask the city government to the release the detained practitioners, they were told that they couldn't release them because the Public Security Bureau was involved. The police said that the practitioners should go to Beijing to appeal to higher authorities.
For many of us, we thought it would be a good opportunity to clarify the facts to the government to clear up any misunderstanding. Our local coordinator said it was up to each of us to decide what to do and how to do it. We weren't going to coordinate or organize an approach. Shortly after 5:00 a.m. the next day, I was at the bus station along with everyone from our group study. Everyone made their own decision to go to Beijing based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Cultivating Dafa is about improving oneself and one's mind. We do not believe in rituals, record keeping, or being an organization. Everyone freely comes or goes, and knows what to do based on the Fa. If there was an effort to organize people to appeal in Beijing, there would have been more than ten thousand practitioners. In the Beijing area alone, there are thousands of practitioners in every district. A large district would already have about ten thousand practitioners.
On April 25, 1999, we arrived at Fuyou Street shortly after 6:00 a.m. A short distance from the bus station, police officers were waiting to direct practitioners to an area outside a door on the west side of Zhongnanhai. Many practitioners were already there and the number continued to increase. Everyone stood there quietly because we didn't want to cause any inconvenience to the public living in that district. We kept the sidewalks and entrances to lanes open. Lunch boxes were kept in large plastic bags. Some practitioners were studying the Fa while standing, while elderly practitioners sat on the ground in the back row. I quietly stood in the front row. With practitioners following Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, the environment was purified wherever we were.
At around 5:00 p.m., the local people came to tell us, "[They told us to] go home now. We were told to lock our doors and stay home. No matter what happens outside don't go out." Since the June 4, 1989 massacre, the public knew what might happen and many of them came to advise us to go home. We weren't moved and waited until the appeal was over. After returning home, the message from the local police department was that if practitioners had stayed after 9:00 p.m., they might have used force.
Practitioners' display of compassion and forbearance created a harmonized field during the appeal. Their actions were respected and praised by the international community.