Bearing Witness to History: Dafa Practitioners in Jinan City Practice Group Exercises on the Morning of January 18, 2000
Written on November 28, 2003
(Clearwisdom.net) The East Gate of Jinan City, Shandong Province was the first, and one of the largest practice sites established by the local Dafa practitioners after the founder and teacher of Falun Dafa Mr. Li Hongzhi first came to Jinan to teach Falun Dafa. It is located in the woods by the moat far away from the residential area, and is a good place for morning exercises. Early each morning Dafa practitioners practiced the exercises accompanied by the beautiful Dafa music. The neat formation, the graceful choreographed movements and the peaceful countenances of the practitioners formed a splendid scene that frequently caused the passers-by to stop and watch, and had long become part of the scenic landscape at the East Gate.
On July 20, 1999, Jiang Zemin ordered the persecution of Falun Gong. Arrests, ransacking of homes, wholesale destruction of Dafa books, police sirens, prohibition against appeals and practicing the exercises, and other means of persecution have become prevalent. Since then, all practice sites have become desolate without any trace of their former glory. Often, there were Dafa practitioners wandering about near the practice sites. Why persecute such a good practice with such a great Teacher -- a practice that makes people healthy, raises morality and benefits the country and the people? Have the people in power gone mad? The path we have taken is the righteous path and what we practice is a righteous Fa. It is definitely not wrong and we would never give up the practice!
Finally some Dafa practitioners went to the East Gate practice site without further hesitation, to resume the morning practice. One, five, ten, twenty, the number increased day by day. Among them were practitioners from the East Gate practice group, from other practice sites, and even from other areas.
On January 18, 2000 at 5 a.m., it was still dark, but we could see that it was the largest gathering thus far with about 50 practitioners showing up. Practitioners nodded to each other with a smile and mutual understanding. No one took charge, but everybody automatically stood in formation when the music started. Practitioners practiced the second set of the exercises with the beautiful music. It was sacred and solemn.
Not long after, a police car arrived, and seven or eight policemen from the Dongguan Police Station led by Director Zhang walked towards the practice site. The practitioners continued with their exercise and didn't move. The police, armed with electric batons, went among the practitioners. They first stopped the tape player, but didn't confiscate it. Then they shouted loudly, "Stop practicing. The government doesn't allow the practice, why are you still practicing?" At this moment, a female Dafa practitioner suddenly called out loudly, "Unmoved as Vajra;" another Dafa practitioner called out, "Solid as rock." Silence ensued and the exercises continued. It seemed that the police didn't know what to say, as they stared at each practitioner one after another. One policeman stopped in front of a female Dafa practitioner, "I know you. Why do you also come?" "Doing the morning exercise is every citizen's right. Why shouldn't we come?" A male practitioner questioned him loudly, "We don't bother anybody doing the exercises here, nor do we hurt anyone. Why can we not be allowed to practice as a group?"
The practitioners kept asking one question after another, and the police had nothing to say in response. To stop the practitioners throwing questions at them, the police demanded the name and address of all those who wanted to speak out. This didn't stop the practitioners; they gave their names and home addresses without hesitation (this was how it was done at the time). Suddenly one policeman said, "We cannot explain it clearly here, why don't you get in the police car and let's settle this at the police station. Who wants to go?"
Before long, one female Dafa practitioner said, "I can go, but I have to ask if you can report our opinions to the central government and Jiang Zemin without modification?" The police didn't respond to the question directly, but asked, "What situation do you have to report?" The practitioner said loudly, "My husband used to suffer from the serious effects of cerebral thrombosis. He was bedridden for years. After he started to practice Falun Gong, he could make it to the practice site by himself to practice the exercises. You can see how well he has recovered. He would have died long ago had it not been for Falun Gong. We are trying to be good people. I want to ask the government why such a good practice is not allowed. " Another practitioner continued, "If you don't allow us to practice, we will have to go to Beijing to appeal and ask the central government for a clear explanation."
The police knew that they were wrong; one policeman said, "Even if you went to Beijing, you wouldn't be able to see Jiang Zemin. What is the use of appealing?" Then the practitioners started to spread out and clarified the truth to the police individually.
At this time, everyone noticed that one Dafa practitioner continued practicing the exercises, unaffected by what was happening around him. The police moved towards him, but he remained very peaceful, calm and unperturbed. Seven or eight policemen circled around him and thought for sure that he was the one who had organized this group practice. One policeman asked, "Who organized this activity?" The practitioners answered together, "No one organized it; we came of our own accord to practice." At that moment, one Dafa practitioner shouted loudly, "We need to go to work now. Let's leave." Under the other practitioners' protection, the encircled practitioner was also able to leave safely. But because the police knew him, he was arrested later. In addition, over one dozen Dafa practitioners were also arrested.
This was the largest group practice in Jinan City after July 20, 1999, but it has inspired and encouraged more Jinan Dafa practitioners to step forward and join the magnificent and solemn mighty current of Fa-rectification. These scenes will remain forever, as magnificent and glorious testimony of Jinan Dafa practitioners validating Dafa.