(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners gathered at the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing. They requested the release of 45 Falun Dafa practitionerse who had been illegally detained by the police and for a peaceful environment to practice Falun Dafa. Practitioners’ courage and calmness at the April 25 Peaceful Appeal moved the world. Their upright moral demeanor became a historic milestone.
At a recent gathering, Falun Dafa practitioners in Toronto shared about how their parents participated in the April 25 Peaceful Appeal. These young practitioners said they have no regrets in choosing to persist in their cultivation of Falun Dafa.
No Regrets in Choosing to Persist in Falun Dafa
Yoyo was born in Beijing and started cultivating Falun Dafa with her parents in 1996. Yoyo and her parents started going to group practice at the Yaxiya Plaza practice site in 1997, when Yoyo was 15. They also joined the practice site at Taoranting Park, where hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners would gather and practice Falun Dafa’s five sets of exercises together.
Yoyo recalled, “April 24, 1999 was a Saturday. My mother heard from another practitioner that Falun Dafa had been slandered and police officials in Tianjin, a city near Beijing, had assaulted and arrested dozens of Falun Dafa practitioners.
“My father told me that night that they would take their appeal to Beijing. April 25, 1999, was a Sunday and my parents left at 7 a.m. I was worried for them at the time. I was already 17 years old and was mature enough to think logically. I began to have flashbacks of my childhood years. I got scared because of my memories of the Tiananmen Square protests, commonly known as the June Fourth Clearing in Chinese. And my mother had told me about the tragic situation where my grandmother’s house was raided during the Cultural Revolution.
“I think my mother also had her doubts, and felt pressure and fear about going to appeal to the central government. However, she still made the decision to validate Dafa. My mother’s stomach illnesses, and the arthritis and rheumatism in her legs had disappeared after cultivating Falun Dafa. Similarly, my father’s vertigo symptoms had disappeared. Falun Dafa is good! People benefit from this practice and spread it by word of mouth. This was the reason the practice had spread nationwide,” Yoyo said.
“My parents arrived home around 11 p.m. that day. I felt relieved when I saw them. My father said he saw several army tanks that afternoon and thought that something bad would happen. Practitioners were thus prepared to face violence and suppression.
“My father also told me that none of the practitioners wavered their belief. They stood quietly on the sides of the street, waiting for their concerns to be resolved. My father and all the other practitioners knew that it was right to abide by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
Yoyo persisted in cultivating Falun Dafa. She studied the Fa and distributed informational materials about Falun Dafa. It has been 24 years since the April 25 Peaceful Appeal, and Yoyo has been telling people about the beauty of Falun Dafa and how her parents are still under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution in China.
“I am an accountant in a law firm and tell my colleagues that I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. I am patient and tolerant of my coworkers. Many of my coworkers also speak highly of me. Falun Dafa has improved my morals. I have become more considerate and humble. I will always be steadfast in cultivating Falun Dafa and have no regrets in doing so.”
Persisting in Cultivating Though My Parents Are Still Under Persecution
Cato resides in Toronto but he is originally from Harbin, China. He began cultivating Falun Dafa with his parents in 1996 when he was nine years old.
“I was 12 years old when the April 25 Peaceful Appeal happened. My mother got on the overnight train to Beijing. It was already the morning of April 26th by the time she arrived. She was passing by a park in Beijing and joined many practitioners practicing the exercises. It was then that a practitioner told her that the matter had been peacefully resolved,” Cato said.
“A group of police officers barged into my house when I was 15 years old. They detained me and my parents at the police department. I was released the next morning, but both of my parents were sentenced to five years. I did not see my parents until a year later. When I visited them in prison, I said to them through a glass window, ‘You have done nothing wrong. I won’t feel inferior or have low self esteem just because you aren’t by my side. I’m proud that you persist in your beliefs.’ My parents teared up.”
Cato said, “I realised that practitioners appealed in Beijing for one simple reason. They hoped to tell people that Falun Dafa was slandered and that people have distorted the facts. Falun Dafa practitioners have done nothing wrong or illegal. We abide by the standards of Master Li (Falun Dafa’s founder) and are considerate of others. The appeal demonstrated practitioners’ sense of justice and their courage to stand up for moral standards.”
It is also the same spirit that made Cato persist in cultivating Falun Dafa, though his parents were persecuted by the CCP. “I lived in relatives’ houses and practiced the exercises and studied the Fa by myself when my parents were detained for five years,” he said.
“I found a job in Beijing when I was 24 years old. I’d often ride my bicycle and pass by the streets where practitioners stood during the April 25 Peaceful Appeal. It is the power of faith that made those uncles and aunties stand here, not fearing life and death. Dafa has completely changed my perspective of life and values. Nothing can ever make me give up my belief,” Cato affirmed.
Cato is a film lighting technician in Toronto. “I have been abiding by Master’s teachings to be a practitioner of virtue and do good deeds while continuously improving my moral character,” he said. “Several film crews wanted to hire me. I chose to stay with the same employer and gave up the opportunity of better working conditions. My employer was touched that I did not leave.”
Cato said, “My coworkers often tell me that they feel comfortable around me. I told them about Falun Dafa and my story. They were moved and said, ‘You are welcomed in Canada!’”
Proud of Being a Falun Dafa Practitioner
Liu Chang began practicing Falun Dafa at 4 years old with her older sister and parents. She said she is proud to be a Falun Dafa practitioner.
“My family benefitted a lot from Falun Dafa. My father’s lumbar disc herniation and my mother’s stomach illnesses all disappeared miraculously,” she said. “My older sister and I were weak and often got sick when we were young. We went from doing poorly in school and being sickly, to becoming healthy and excelling in our studies after cultivating Dafa.
“My parents often took us to attend group Fa study, to practice sites, and they played Master’s lecture videos for us. Every practitioner who attended the group Fa study was very peaceful. I could not read Chinese characters at that time but was able to recite Lunyu. I persisted in practicing the fifth meditation exercise for one hour and was praised by the aunties,” Liu Chang recalled.
“I was shocked seeing so many practitioners standing peacefully outside the State Appeals Office on television on April 25, 1999. My parents told me that the Chinese Premier had a good impression of practitioners and told me that it was okay for us to continue practicing Falun Dafa.”
However, no one would have thought that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would launch a nationwide persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners three months later.
“We lost our freedom to cultivate Falun Dafa in public. I became more reserved and constantly lived in fear and under pressure. But I persisted in my belief in Falun Dafa under the encouragement of my family. I also believed that it was right to abide by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
Liu Chang’s mother was reported to the police while she clarified the truth in a park one day in 2009. “The police stormed into my house that night. I stood in front of all the police officers and told them in a dignified manner that there was nothing wrong in believing in Falun Dafa! The police were shocked by my actions and did not believe a middle school student would have the courage to reprimand police officers.
“Due to the stress and pressure from the evil, I developed a fever and was unable to sleep that night. Miraculously, that did not stop me from going to school the next day. I was also able to get a very high score on a test in mathematics, a subject that I was not good at. My confidence was boosted and I firmly believed that Master is always protecting me,” Liu Chang said.
“After the police raided my house, the Residents Committee started to harass us on a regular basis and pressured us to give up our belief in Falun Dafa. They threatened us and said that if we would not give up our belief, my older sister would lose her job and I wouldn’t be allowed to go to school. We had no choice but to relocate and immigrate to Canada.
“It’s been more than a dozen years since I have left China,” Liu Chang said. “I have no regrets about the choices I’ve made.”
Chinese version available