Historic Moments: Practitioners Recall Unforgettable Experiences in Tiananmen Square

Aug. 5, 2021 | By a Falun Gong practitioner in Australia

A song called “Tiananmen Square, Please Tell Me” has moved many people in the world and brought tears to their eyes.

On July 20, 1999, the former head of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Jiang Zemin, launched a brutal crackdown on Falun Gong. Faced with the sudden persecution, practitioners went to Beijing to petition for Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). They also went to Tiananmen Square to tell people “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!”

In those days, “Falun Dafa is good!” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” banners could be seen everywhere in Tiananmen Square.


“A Glorious Page in History!”

Meng Jun, a former lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Tsinghua University, was imprisoned by the CCP for ten years for practicing Falun Gong. He was later rescued to Australia. He is now a senior software engineer in an IT company.

He said, “After all these years, when I look back at the heroic acts of countless Falun Gong practitioners going to Tiananmen Square, they are touching moments that will forever leave a glorious page in history. The CCP will eventually come to an end for persecuting goodness, while the dedication of Falun Gong practitioners will forever be a shining moment in mankind’s history.”

After the persecution began on July 20, 1999, Meng Jun learned that after they went to Tiananmen Square, many practitioners were beaten by the police. After they lost consciousness from the beatings, the police drove them to the outskirts of Beijing and left them by the road to die. When practitioners regained consciousness they walked back to Beijing, and some went directly back to Tiananmen Square.

Meng Jun felt he should go to Tiananmen Square too. He said, “If I backed out in the face of hardships, I would be letting myself down. I felt strongly that Dafa disciples were brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t bear to see them suffer. I felt it was necessary for me to share the adversity.”

He added, “But it was not easy to actually take that step, mainly because I was afraid of losing my life or being jailed.”

After some hesitation, Meng Jun decided to take a look first, so he went to Tiananmen Square in 2000. He witnessed practitioners holding up banners and shouting “Falun Dafa is good!” or staging a protest by doing the exercises. They were quickly taken away by the police and beaten up.

Meng Jun said, “Seeing the thugs (hired by the police) taking practitioners by the neck—some of them looked like they were from rural areas—I felt very sad, but I didn’t dare to join them.”

“I thought about it for a few days. Then, I finally decided: ‘I will commit my mind and not think about anything else, I will stand up!’ I gave my IDs and documents to someone else to keep, and set off with only a bottle of water and a hat.

“It was hot in Beijing in June, and Tiananmen Square was crowded with tourists. As soon as I arrived, I saw a plainclothes policeman videotaping the crowd with a miniature camera. I walked to the side as he continued filming.

“Within five minutes there was a group of practitioners shouting ‘Falun Dafa is good!’ near the monument. I saw plainclothes police officers attacking the practitioners.

“Some practitioners immediately began a silent protest by doing the exercises. I took off my shoes, sat down, and began to do Exercise Five. In two minutes, I was lifted up by a uniformed policeman, who grabbed me by the back of my neck and pushed me towards a police van. He pinched me with his other hand and then swung his fist to smash the back of my head.

“Several more practitioners were thrown into the police van. We were taken to the Tiananmen Police Station and locked in a large metal cage, which already held nearly 100 people. We were bused elsewhere later that evening. My bus went to Beijing 13th Detention Centre in the Changping District. After confiscating my belongings, the police put me in a cell, and kept me there for five days.”

The experience is engraved in Meng Jun’s memory. He said, “I have witnessed and experienced the CCP’s brutality and violation of human rights, and have also personally experienced how hard it is to safeguard one’s right to freedom of belief under the CCP’s rule.

“That moment of life and death with fellow practitioners in Tiananmen Square gave me some comfort: I stepped up and did not back down. Even though I did not do too well, I did not stand by and look on with my hands folded.”


After the persecution began on July 20, 1999, countless Falun Gong practitioners went to Tiananmen Square and held up banners to tell the world that “Falun Dafa is good, and Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance is good!”


“Trip to Tiananmen Firmed up My Belief that Falun Gong is Righteous!”

Emma left China in 2014 to study in Australia, and now lives in Queensland. Emma began practicing Falun Gong with her parents in China in 1996. Her parents regained their health and the family became harmonious after they began practicing.

When the CCP began the nation-wide persecution on July 20, 1999, she was not fooled by the lies. She accompanied her parents to Tiananmen Square. She said, “The trip to Tiananmen Square firmed up my belief that Falun Gong is righteous!”

Emma recalled that day, “At the end of 1999 (when Emma was ten years old), our family and several local practitioners took a train to Beijing. We arrived in Beijing several days later, and local practitioners came to meet us and took us in for the night.

“We entered the apartment and saw many practitioners from various parts of the country already there. Although it was the first time we met one another, we all felt very close. Some practitioners offered us steamed buns and pickles they brought with them. I chewed on the hard and cold steamed buns, and felt a warmth in my heart like never before.

“The next morning, we took a taxi to Tiananmen Square. There was an air of tension everywhere, and especially near the Golden River Bridge where plainclothes police were pulling tourists aside and forcing them to say abusive things about Falun Gong.

“Later, under a Huabiao (White Jade Pillar) in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, my parents held up a banner with the words, “Falun Dafa is good!” All the other practitioners stood under the banner and began to stage a peaceful protest by doing the exercises.

“Within a minute, sirens sounded in a distance and several police officers appeared. One of them punched my father and knocked him down while the others arrested all the practitioners. We were put into a van. My father’s face kept bleeding and the floor was covered in blood.”

“We were taken to the Tiananmen Square Police Station. My father and a college student were held in a separate room. Soon I heard the sound of whipping from that room. In our room, an officer held his fist up in the air to terrorise a girl. Another officer threw a dirty tissue in my mother’s face. My mother did not get upset. She picked up the litter from the floor.

“A policewoman made a girl write a confession statement. After she finished, the policewoman became angry because the girl had written about the beauty of practicing Falun Dafa. I admired the practitioners around me.

“At night, the police put practitioners in ‘diagonal handcuffs’ (one’s two hands are handcuffed together, with one from the top of the shoulder and one from the back). At midnight, my mother and I were detained in a courtyard. An officer took me to the bathroom and searched me. I was told to remove all my clothes, including my socks.

“On the third night, which happened to be Chinese New Year’s Eve, we were taken back home from Beijing. Along the way I was overwhelmed by my feelings, not knowing where my father was or what was waiting for us once we got home.”

Emma’s father was imprisoned by the CCP for eight years, and her mother for nearly five years. In the face of such a great family disaster, young Emma became even more determined to practice Falun Gong.

Emma believes what those unforgettable years gave her was the precious spirit of Falun Gong practitioners who were willing to give up everything for the truth.

She said, “The Chinese nation under the rule of the CCP has undergone vicissitudes of change, and now the entire society is experiencing a moral decline. Every Chinese should be grateful to this clear stream of Falun Gong practitioners who are practicing the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance—even sacrificing their lives. They are changing society in a subtle and kind way.”


Panic in the CCP

Practitioners in China have been going to Tiananmen Square to tell the world that the persecution is wrong. The CCP is frightened of Falun Gong practitioners’ daring to give everything for the truth. On February 23, 2001, the CCP staged the “Tiananmen self-immolation” in an attempt to incite hatred against Falun Gong among the Chinese people.

However, within a short period of time, the “Tiananmen self-immolation” was deemed by various institutions and organisations around the world to be simply a fabrication.

On August 14 of that same year, the International Educational Development Organisation (IEDO) strongly condemned the “state terrorism” of the CCP at the United Nations conference with regard to the “Tiananmen self-immolation.” It condemned the “Tiananmen self-immolation incident” to be a frame-up of Falun Gong, involving shocking conspiracy and murder.

The statement said that the video, “in our view proves that this event was staged by the [Chinese] government.” The Chinese delegation had no defense in the face of overwhelming evidence.

John Dowie is a Falun Gong practitioner in Queensland, Australia. He remembers that after the “Tiananmen self-immolation” in 2001, a friend who did not know much about Falun Gong came to tell him that he heard practitioners had set themselves on fire in China.

John didn’t give it a second thought and told his friend, “There is absolutely no way that the people who set themselves on fire are Falun Gong practitioners; practitioners would never do such a thing.” He and his friend soon got a video that revealed flaws in the “self-immolation” in great detail. He sent the video to more people to let them know how the CCP was slandering Falun Gong.

John learned about Falun Gong at a friend’s place in April 1999 and began practicing it after reading the book Zhuan Falun. He said, “I began to practice Falun Gong in Australia right before the persecution started on ‘July 20.’ I heard rumors that Falun Gong might be banned in China soon.

“Then I heard Falun Gong was really banned in China, which I found hard to believe, because Falun Gong is really great—not only can you learn it for free, but it also benefits people physically and mentally.”

John said that at the beginning practitioners in the West were angry with the CCP for persecuting Falun Gong. They did not understand why the CCP would do this, but they did not know how to help Falun Gong practitioners in China. It took them some time to realise that they should go out and tell people the facts about Falun Gong and expose the CCP’s persecution of practitioners.


“It’s Really not Easy for Falun Gong Practitioners in China!”

Anna Zhao is a self-employed businesswoman in Queensland, Australia. She began practicing Falun Gong in Beijing in 1998 and has benefited physically and mentally.

Looking back to that unforgettable year of 1999, she said emotionally, “Every time I recall this, I feel heartbroken. It was really not easy for Falun Gong practitioners in China! Since ‘July 20,’ there had been practitioners unfolding banners in Tiananmen Square every day. This went on for several years, which was really remarkable!”

“At that time, there were security checks at every road intersection. The occupants of every vehicle heading into Beijing had their IDs checked, and everyone was asked if they were Falun Gong practitioners. If you said yes, you were not allowed to go to Beijing. Many practitioners used wisdom and found ways to go to Beijing by taxis or via small roads.

“People went to Beijing to tell the government through their personal experiences that Falun Gong was being wrongly persecuted. But when they reached the Beijing Petition Office, no one listened to them. They were directly taken away by the police. Later, they stopped going to the Petition Office and went directly to Tiananmen Square.

“Every day, there were practitioners at Tiananmen Square holding up banners with ‘Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!’ written on them. It was really touching. As soon as they unfurled the banners, the armed police and plainclothes officers jumped on them and beat them, and that scene brings tears to my eyes each time I recall it.”

Anna had practiced Falun Gong for less than a year when the CCP began the persecution. She was surprised to see all the slander against Falun Gong on TV.

She recalled, “I thought it was silly for people to stop practicing Falun Gong after watching the slander on TV, because I benefited so much from the practice. But back then all the TV stations were airing the prerecorded propaganda around the clock, and many people who didn’t know Falun Gong very well were thus brainwashed.”

The weather was unusually hot during July and August of 1999. Anna and her sister, both residents of Beijing, saw that so many practitioners from all over the country overcame many difficulties and made it to Beijing to petition for Falun Gong. Most were not well off financially. They waited in the streets, hoping the government would give an answer.

Anna and her sister wanted to do something too. A few days after July 20, 1999, Anna who was five months pregnant and her sister brought a lot of food to Tiananmen Square to give practitioners.

Anna’s sister printed many copies of Master’s new articles, and one practitioner accepted them and promised to distribute among practitioners. Later, Anna read on Minghui.org that this practitioner was tortured to death by the CCP.

When Anna’s baby was seven months old, she went to Tiananmen Square with the baby in her arms. As practitioners from out of town were holding up banners, she held her baby and clarified the truth about Falun Gong to the people around her. She was detained in Tiananmen Police Station that day.

When her baby was ten months old, she went to Tiananmen Square again. This time she was detained in the Dongcheng District Detention Centre.

She recalled, “At that time, a practitioner from Shandong province was also holding her baby who looked ten months old. Later, I read on Minghui.org that a ten-month-old baby had died from the persecution. It’s too sad to recall, because too many tragic things happened. Words cannot describe how evil the CCP is!

“The CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong has failed, but the practitioners in China have persevered.”