Recalling Falun Gong Practitioners' 1998 Petition at the Beijing TV Station
(Minghui.org) Master Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) to the public in 1992. Its health benefits quickly drew the public's attention. By 1998, six years later, tens of millions of people had taken up the practice and benefited physically, mentally, and morally.
Despite the positive effects of Falun Dafa, its surging popularity triggered opposition from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by Jiang Zemin and supported by state-run media. The Beijing TV Station thus ran a program to slander Falun Gong.
Beijing TV Station Incident
On May 23, 1998, the Beijing TV Station broadcasted an interview with He Zouxiu, who denounced Falun Gong. The program also interviewed Falun Gong practitioners and showed their practice site. Contrary to the principle of reporting facts, the program showed some obscure pictures to vilify Falun Gong and doctored the practitioners' remarks to mislead and deceive the public.
Every day after the broadcast, the practitioners interviewed in the program went to the TV station to request an explanation. The TV station was shocked at the overwhelming responses. Since they did not offer a solution to remedy the adverse effects on Falun Gong's reputation, the petition continued.
Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners, mainly from Beijing, decided to gather at the TV station on May 31.
On the evening of May 30, we were updated at our practice site by a Beijing correspondent on the petition's progress. Many practitioners, including myself, decided to participate in the rally. A very passionate woman reported that she had arranged to have her son-in-law drive us to the Beijing TV Station in a small bus the next day.
Petitioning at Beijing TV Station
A group of about twenty practitioners, including me, left our region in the morning. I felt that Master had purified my thoughts before we departed. I was proud of being a Dafa disciple and deeply thanked Master for his immeasurable compassion.
When we arrived at the TV station, more than ten round tables were already set up in the courtyard. One employee was assigned to each table to accommodate the practitioners. The practitioners sat at or stood around the tables so that everyone could express their concerns.
The CCP regime and its media mouthpieces would never admit their mistakes, nor apologize for their wrongdoing. Before the communication, we first made it clear that the TV station violated the central government's official "Three No" policy towards Qigong – "no publicizing, no debating, no criticizing" – and distorted the facts about Falun Gong.
Station Employees' Attitude Change
Some employees said in a more peaceful tone, “Our company was already aware of this incident. We will respond to your concerns.”
However, other employees had a more hostile tone; they said that they were very busy and we should not have come to bother them.
One person who looked like the head of the group wore a reluctant expression on his face. He sat down and put some cough drops on the table without saying a word. The practitioners described to him the health benefits from Falun Gong and expressed to him their wish that more people could also benefit from the practice.
They told this person that they came to help him understand the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, so that he can report on the situation more accurately.
The practitioners' kindness seemed to touch him. He sat up straighter as the conversation went on, and he became friendlier. He listened to the practitioners intently.
I sat at the first table. Our receptionist was very friendly. When we described how we benefited from Falun Gong and its contributions to society, he took notes.
I briefly told him about how my whole family has benefited from Falun Gong. The multiple diseases plaguing my family members disappeared after I started cultivation. I was praised by my supervisor for being a hard worker.
The most peaceful atmosphere was at the elderly practitioners' table. The receptionist was a kind young man. He said that his company already fired the intern reporter who performed the interview. The practitioners responded that they did not come to find fault, and that they didn't hold anything against this reporter personally.
After understanding the facts, this young man indicated that he would tell his mother about Falun Gong and hoped that she could practice it. He also accepted a copy of Zhuan Falun. The communication started without prejudice on both sides and ended smoothly.
We shared cultivation experiences at lunch time. A female practitioner said that prior to her cultivation, she gained about 2,000 yuan by crooked means and later spent the whole amount on her son's medical bills. She enlightened after cultivation to the meaning of the phrase “no loss, no gain,” meaning people are unable to keep gains that they are not entitled to.
A practitioner said that he never asked for receipt with amount more than what he spent when he was on company business. He always follows the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in his daily life.
I was impressed by the change of one practitioner. She came with her husband from a remote village. She said that prior to cultivation, she was a person not to be messed around with, and she was always fighting for personal gain.
One example involved compensation for crops. Knowing that a nearby company would acquire lands, and pay for the land and the crops, she replaced her rice seedlings with grape seedlings overnight and insisted that the company pay her the price for grapes, which was higher. However, after cultivation, she no longer haggles for personal gain and became more altruistic. She even made a space in front of her house for people to practice Falun Gong.
Sharing Good Feelings
While I was debating if we should return home before the TV station gave a clear solution, surprising news came. Fellow practitioners were flying here from Singapore to join the petition. I was extremely touched by their kind thoughts and perseverance in protecting Dafa. I decided to stay to the end.
Some practitioners from mountainous areas had to leave before 4 p.m. that afternoon because of their bus schedules, even though we had not gotten answers from the TV station yet. Some left contact information so that the others could update them on the result.
Overall, the petition process went smoothly and peacefully. Without any resentment and hatred, we calmly pointed out the government's mistakes and responsibly offered suggestions. We were not afraid of being videotaped by the TV station's reporters.
We returned home later. After dinner, I quickly went to the practice site to share my experiences with fellow practitioners.
As Dafa disciples, we have the responsibility to safeguard Falun Dafa. I felt wonderful because I had the opportunity to participate in the petition.
To me, this day – May 31 of 1998 – is a special one worth remembering. It was also a very beautiful day because I attended a unique experience sharing conference at the TV station.
Incident Properly Corrected
The executives of the TV station admitted that broadcasting that program had been a huge mistake. The TV station fired the person in charge of the program and revisited the practice site. They quickly broadcasted a positive program on Falun Gong showing practitioners peacefully practicing their morning exercises along with other people in the park.