(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the State Appeals Office in Beijing to request the release of 45 practitioners arrested by the Tianjin police. That day, the authorities accepted the practitioners’ legal appeal and released the detained practitioners.

Falun Gong practitioners’ calm, rational dialogue between ordinary citizens and the government, the first since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power, created a precedent for peacefully resolving appeals. However, the CCP did not immediately report on this large scale appeal.

Then, three months later, the regime misrepresented the incident by claiming that Falun Gong practitioners had “besieged Zhongnanhai” that day. That was despite the fact that news footage showed practitioners quietly standing on the streets, waiting. Police officers stood aside, chatting, and it was clear they did not see practitioners as a threat. If indeed practitioners were rioters, why would they appear so unarmed and quiet?

On April 20, 2024, to commemorate the peaceful April 25 Appeal, practitioners in Toronto held activities throughout the day. In the morning, they did the exercises in Queens Park followed by a large rally.

On the morning of April 20, practitioners did the exercises in Queens Park to begin the day’s activities commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the April 25 Appeal.

In the afternoon, they spread out to 10 busy intersections in the centre of the city, holding banners, handing out information, and raising awareness of the ongoing persecution. People signed the petition calling for an end to the atrocities. They showed concern for and sympathised with the suffering of practitioners and condemned the regime for suppressing good people. Many Chinese nationals agreed to withdraw from the CCP and its affiliated organisations during the day’s events.

In the afternoon, practitioners spoke to people about the ongoing persecution at 10 busy intersections in the centre of Toronto.

At 8 p.m, practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese consulate. Holding photos of practitioners who died in the persecution, they sat quietly, remembering those who have been tortured to death since the CCP began its campaign of persecution a quarter of a century ago.

At night, practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese consulate to remember those who were tortured to death in the persecution.


Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance Are Noble Goals

Victor and Ahmos from Germany were visiting Toronto when they saw practitioners doing the exercises in Queens Park. Ahmos said, “I think Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance are noble goals. Everyone should follow these goals. Only then can people get along with one another.”

Victor said, “It’s inconceivable to those who live in a free country that such a persecution is still happening. Practitioners were simply appealing peacefully on April 25, 1999. They did not use guns or violence or harm anyone. The CCP prohibits anyone from thinking beyond its propaganda. It decides what everyone thinks and how they should act. That is authoritarian rule, and it makes one sad.”

Ahmos expressed anger at the suppression, saying, “The CCP should not be allowed to commit such crimes. Falun Gong practitioners are simply seeking to improve their health and moral character by cultivating. That’s harmless. Practitioners did not do anything wrong.”

Victor (left) and Ahmos (right) from Germany expressed anger at the CCP’s persecution of innocent, good people.


The CCP Is Definitely the Party in the Wrong

Jacob and John from the U.S. are third year university students. They passed Queens Park on their visit to Toronto and stopped to listen as practitioners spoke at the rally. Jacob said, “I think Falun Gong cultivation is positive. Practitioners constantly improve their character. It can only be beneficial and cause no harm, so I am a supporter.” John said, “If one follows Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, he will become a better person for sure.”

After they learned the background behind the April 25 appeal, Jacob said, “The CCP is definitely the party in the wrong, but it will not change its violent nature. Things will change for sure in future—it cannot continue to do evil.” John said, “I think so, too. The truth will never lose.”

Jacob (left) and John (right) were full of praise for Falun Gong. They know that, when it comes to the persecution, the CCP is wrong.

Bobby from Winnipeg saw practitioners holding banners in downtown Toronto. He said, “I know that 25 years ago, the CCP forbade Falun Gong practitioners from meditating. The CCP is like a terrorist organisation. It is horrifying. I understand what you are doing.”

Bobby compared the CCP to a terrorist organisation


“My Friends, Keep on Going”

Hashir from Pakistan saw practitioners holding banners and shared his understandings of the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance that Falun Gong teaches. “I think Truthfulness means to treat people with honesty and sincerity; Compassion is to be good to everyone regardless of their race or belief; and Forbearance is to have patience and tolerance.”

He is aware of what the CCP is really like: “Pakistan is China’s neighbor, so I’ve heard how the regime uses violence in its treatment of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians and Buddhist followers. The CCP bans all forms of belief. It wants to be the people’s god. Ordinary citizens live in suffering but the CCP officials don’t care. They only care about money. I know what Falun Gong practitioners are going through—I have been reading about it.”

Before he left Hashir said, “My friends, stay strong! Keep on going!”

Hashir hopes practitioners stay strong.


I Can Feel Your Kindness

Practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese consulate at night. A police officer on duty at the entrance to the consulate all year long said after observing them sitting quietly, “I’m on duty here every year, so I see you once again this year. I am delighted. I know many people don’t really like the CCP, so I’m glad that you come here every year to express your demands.”

Another police officer said it was the first time he was on duty at the Chinese consulate. He was curious about the candlelight vigil and asked a practitioner for a flier and what they were doing. A practitioner gave him the background of the April 25 appeal. His coworker, who has been on duty at this event for many years, also explained the situation to him.

The officer said, “Thank you for your introduction. I will find out more myself. Although I haven’t been to China, I know the government there has done many bad things. From your calm appearance, I can feel you are kind people. I can imagine how it was like for practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal 25 years ago. It makes me certain what you tell me is the truth. I am here—you can call me if you need anything.”


Chinese Withdraw from the CCP

Many Chinese learned the facts about the persecution and the importance of quitting the CCP during the activities held throughout the day.

A woman agreed to withdraw her membership in the Party because she did not think it was right for the CCP to persecute a group of people who believe in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Someone else agreed to quit the CCP’s Young Pioneers after learning the vow they’d made when they joined was in fact agreeing to give their life for communism.

A student from Shenzhen who is studying at a university in Toronto did not know the truth about the persecution. He’d only heard about the June 4th Tiananmen Square student massacre. He also agreed to quit the Young Pioneers after a practitioner explained the facts.

Practitioners explained the facts about the persecution to people despite the rain and snow.

People approached practitioners to find out about Falun Gong and the history behind the April 25 Appeal.