(Minghui.org) Two events significant for Falun Dafa practitioners took place in 1999 in Beijing: the April 25 peaceful appeal and the July 20 appeal. I was fortunate to participate in both and witnessed Dafa’s beauty and compassion.
The April 25 Peaceful Appeal
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, was introduced to the public by Master Li Hongzhi on May 13, 1992. The mind-body practice teaches its students to live by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Dafa was held in high regard, and 100 million people were practicing it by 1999. But the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the time, Jiang Zemin, was envious of Dafa’s popularity and plotted to wipe it out.
On April 11, 1999, the CCP scientist He Zuoxiu authored an article that appeared in Science and Technology for Youth, a magazine published by the Tianjin Education Institute. He used fabricated evidence to slander and defame Falun Dafa. Practitioners in Tianjin went to the magazine’s publishing house to clarify the facts and asked them to rectify the mistakes. Tianjin police responded by beating and arresting 45 of them on April 23 and 24.
Practitioners then went to the Tianjin Municipal Government to appeal for justice, but they were told that the Tianjin government didn’t have the authority to resolve the issue and they had to go to Beijing.
This led to the “April 25 Peaceful Appeal” event, with over 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners appealing in Beijing.
I went to You’an Street, near the State Council Appeals Office, early that morning. Many practitioners were there already. We all stood quietly, with some studying Dafa’s teachings and some doing the exercises. I saw a young woman who was about eight months pregnant. Practitioners kept coming and we couldn’t see the end of the line.
Around 9 a.m., then-premier Zhu Rongji came out of Zhongnanhai, the central government compound where the Appeals Office was located, and asked what was wrong. He asked us to choose seven representatives to go in Zhongnanhai to talk. Who should we send? Everyone came on their own and we didn’t know each other.
A young man near me stood up, “I will go! I’m studying the law.” He came back in a little while and said, “My professor went in.”
We all stayed calm and orderly, waiting for the outcome. We didn’t hold banners, shout slogans, or make noise. There was no organiser, but we demonstrated great discipline: no one stepped on the sidewalk designated for the blind, no one blocked store entrances, and no one interfered with traffic including the police cars. Some practitioners collected trash in plastic bags, and many squeezed over to make room for elderly practitioners to sit down.
“You all are amazing,” a young man said to us. “I rode my bike to look at you people from the beginning to the end of the line. So many people and so well-behaved!”
After hearing that the arrested Tianjin practitioners had been released, we left quietly. Not a single piece of paper was left behind; practitioners even picked up the cigarette butts that police officers had thrown on the ground.
July 20 Appeal
Despite the smooth resolution of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal, Jiang Zemin still launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.
We learned at the exercise site that the CCP was banning Falun Gong as of that morning. We had only one thought: Appeal to the authorities and let them know how effective Dafa is at keeping people healthy and improving their character so that they would stop the campaign of persecution.
Two other practitioners and I walked to the State Council Appeals Office. When we went to the Xisi area, we heard that the appeals office was closed—they didn’t want to receive us. Xisi Street was full of practitioners as more kept coming. The police lined up to monitor us.
The silence was broken when a young man tried to cross the street. Several police officers rushed and hit him. People started shouting, “Stop! Don’t beat him!” “Respect the Constitution!” Shortly afterward, truckloads of soldiers arrived. They jumped out of the trucks and worked with the police to arrest practitioners.
Practitioners tried not to be taken away. A young man was beaten and fell. A police officer dragged him by his hair. Two police officers dragged an elderly practitioner who’d come with me. She said to them, “Young men, you shouldn’t do this!”
The police also dragged me onto a bus packed with practitioners. Then the bus started moving.
A practitioner started reciting On Dafa from the book Zhuan Falun. All the other practitioners on the bus joined in. We also recited “True Cultivation” and “Enlightenment” from the book Essentials for Further Advancement and the poems in Hong Yin. As the bus was driving through the streets in Beijing, our voices were like a majestic symphony, spreading in all directions.
The bus took us to Fengtai Stadium. We stood or sat on the runway or in the stadium seats, some studying the Fa, some sitting in meditation, and some doing the exercises. The police and soldiers watched us closely. Several police officers came by recording the names, addresses, and workplaces of every practitioner.
Dark clouds gathered in the sky around noontime. They kept accumulating and eventually covered the entire sky.
Around 1 p.m., something miraculous appeared: A big rotating Falun appeared in the sky, like a sun. It was so holy and beautiful, changing color each time it turned, with the swastika in the middle remaining gold.
Looking up at the Falun, I felt an overwhelming warmth and joy in my heart. Master was encouraging us! He was protecting us all the time and encouraging us not to yield to the forces of evil but to persist in pursuing justice.
All of a sudden, it started to pour. We were all soaked, but we all stayed calm. An elderly practitioner held an umbrella over a police officer.
More soldiers came after dark. They rushed into the stadium to take us away. We locked arms, forming a human wall, with the young people outside and the elderly, women, and children inside. The police and soldiers tried to break the wall and drag and pull each practitioner out to ship them away. We held each others’ arms tightly; when one was dragged away, other practitioners locked their arms immediately to reform the wall.
This went on until midnight, when the last bus carried the last practitioners out of the stadium.
A few months later, I described the July 20 event to a few people. They exclaimed, “When history turns the page, people will remember you forever!”
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