(Minghui.org) On April 23, 2023, Falun Dafa practitioners in Kiev commemorated the 24th anniversary of the April 25 Appeal on Khreshchatyk Street, the main street of the Ukrainian capital.
During the commemorative activities, practitioners did the Falun Dafa exercises and distributed leaflets. They also collected signatures to gather support for ending the persecution. Many people signed the petition condemning the CCP’s torture and persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
People Support an End to the Persecution
Many people stopped to learn about the event and thanked practitioners for providing information about Falun Dafa and the persecution.
One woman said that Falun Dafa practitioners looked very harmonious on this main street and were an uplifting scene in the city. Some passers-by followed along their exercise movements. Some said they’d heard about the persecution in China and signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution.
One woman, who never heard of Falun Dafa before, signed the petition. She later brought a friend to hear from practitioners about what is happening in China. Her friend also signed the petition. The woman’s friend said that what practitioners are doing is very important, and that when such evil [persecution] is happening in China, everyone should work together to stop it. When a practitioner presented a small lotus flower to her, she said that she could feel practitioners’ positive energy.
A young woman approached the practitioner and said that she recently purchased Falun Dafa’s main book, Zhuan Falun, at a local bookstore. She said that it was really amazing that she did not know anything about Falun Dafa or this book before, but she met practitioners on the street right after she bought the book. She was glad to have a chance to learn more about Falun Dafa and the exercises.
“In the midst of war, practicing Falun Dafa helps get through hardships.”
About 30 practitioners attended the activities, most of them were from Kiev. Some temporarily moved to Kiev from other parts of the Ukraine due to the war. They say that practicing Falun Dafa helped them through difficult circumstances, and they want to see the persecution in China end.
Oksana from Kiev came to the event with her two children. The whole family practices Falun Dafa. Oksana began practicing in 2005 and has been participating in such events ever since.
“It is very important that we do not turn a blind eye to people who are suffering on the other side of the world,” Oksana said. “It is important that people’s hearts are not closed.
“Practicing Falun Dafa is my life, my family, my attitude to life, the way I treat my children and my husband. I used to have a strong personality, but now I can say that I am a good wife, a good mother, and in general, I am a very kind person,” she added.
Dennis has practiced Falun Dafa for twenty years. He said that calling for an end to the persecution in China was a matter of conscience for him, adding that Falun Dafa helped him stay calm at the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
“For me, Falun Dafa is a way of living in harmony in society, in the world, knowing that I am part of the universe. This is especially helpful for me, especially when the war breaks out, because it is difficult to get yourself back to normal. For us, for Ukrainians, this is a great test in the face of fear and loss. But while meditating, I realised that the universe would eventually correct everything,” Dennis said.
Dennis’s wife, Karolina, also attended the event. She has practiced Falun Dafa since 2005.
Karolina said, “Practicing Falun Dafa keeps me at peace, stabilises my mental state, and makes me energetic. There are a lot of attacks and negatives nowadays, and meditation helps me. When I sit down to practice, I am one with the universe. My energy field is getting stronger and stronger, and this energy keeps me calm and kind throughout the day. When I have wisdom in the midst of conflict, I can cope with it with a calm mind, and I understand that when my thoughts are in line with [Dafa’s principles of] Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I am under the protection of the universe.”
Karolina participated in the event because she believes that this can help not only those persecuted in China, but also Ukrainians themselves. “Activities like this can help a person put their good foot forward. In this historical period, everyone, every country, is making choices,” she said.
Svetlana was one of the first Falun Dafa practitioners in Kiev. She has been cultivating for twenty-five years. “When I started practicing Falun Dafa, it inspired me a lot,” she said. “My health improved. For more than twenty years, I forgot about doctors.”
Although she already began practicing before April 25, 1999, it was not until 2000 that she heard what happened to practitioners in China. She believes that for Falun Dafa practitioners, the peaceful petition on April 25 seemed to end in a positive way. The then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji promised practitioners that they would be able to practice their faith peacefully.
However, on July 20, 1999, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin insisted on going his own way and launched a systemic persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners, which has continued to this day.
After Svetlana began practicing Falun Dafa, she benefited both physically and mentally. “I want the world to know that people [in China] are being killed for seeking health and spiritual fulfillment,” she said. She also said, “I hope that not only Ukraine, but also the whole world will speak up for Falun Dafa practitioners who practice Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and help stop the persecution.”
Background: What Is the April 25 Appeal?
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries worldwide.
Millions of people have embraced the teachings—which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance as well as five gentle exercises—and experienced improved health and well-being.
On April 23 & 24, 1999, police officials in Tianjin, a city near Beijing, assaulted and arrested dozens of practitioners who had gathered outside a magazine office to discuss errors in a recently-published article attacking Falun Dafa. As word spread of the arrests and more practitioners inquired with officials, they were told they had to take their appeal to Beijing.
The following day, April 25, some 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners spontaneously gathered at the Central Appeals office in Beijing, as they had been instructed by Tianjin officials. The gathering was peaceful and orderly. Several Falun Dafa representatives were called in to meet with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and members of his staff. That evening, practitioners’ concerns were answered. The arrested practitioners in Tianjin were released and everyone went home.
However, Jiang Zemin, former head of the CCP, perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology and issued an order to ban Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999.
Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners due to the persecution over the years, though due to the difficulty in getting information out of China, the actual number is suspected to be much higher. Many more have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.
There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply the organ transplant industry.
Chinese version available
Ukraine: Falun Gong Practitioners Share Amazing Benefits of Practicing in a Country Ravaged by War