Bearing Witness to History: A Difficult Way to Appeal
Picture 1: In the morning of July 18, 1999
Around the whole country, in each province, each city, and each county, government institutions enter "Grade One" war status. Layers of guards are arranged around the meeting room. Inside the meeting room the main leaders of the CCP, government, army, police departments, legal system, appeals offices, jails and detention centers listen to the secret order issued by Jiang Zemin: late at night, police in the whole country will take action simultaneously to arrest Falun Gong contact persons in different areas. Persons participating in the meeting cannot leave or enter casually, cannot make phone calls to the outside, and cannot send any messages out.
Picture 2: At 12:00 a.m. of July 18 to 2:00 a.m. of July 19, 1999
Around the whole country, in each province, city, and county, policemen break into the homes of Falun Gong contact persons in different areas. Without search warrants or the permission of any law articles, they illegally ransack homes, confiscating Dafa books, Dafa lecture audiotapes and videotapes, recorders and even money. Contact persons are arrested. The persecution of Falun Gong launched by Jiang Zemin has begun.
Pictures 3: At 6:00 a.m. of July 19, 1999
Falun Gong practitioners go to practice sites to do the exercises as usual and hear that the contact persons have been arrested. Dafa practitioners from different practice sites immediately go to the local appeals offices to report the situation and request the release of the contact persons who were illegally arrested. The officers say, "This is the order of Jiang Zemin. The contact persons have been sent to the provincial government. You can go to the provincial government to appeal." Dafa practitioners try to take the bus to the capital of the province. However, the road leading to the capital has been blocked by policemen. They intercept all vehicles going to the capital, checking the ID of passengers one by one and forcing them to tell the purpose of their trip to the capital. Even if one just wants to visit relatives or friends, he has to give a street number and phone number where they live. He is not allowed to take the vehicle until the police call his friends to prove he is telling the truth. As for those people in simple clothes and those who look like Falun Gong practitioners, policemen drive them off the vehicles, beating and kicking them and taking them to detention centers.
Picture 4: At 11:00 a.m. of July 19, in front of the provincial government and provincial appeals office
Some Falun Gong practitioners from each city or county ride bicycles in order to break through police barricades on the roadways. They arrive at the provincial appeals offices to report the local situation and request the release of the arrested practitioners. The reply is, "This is the order of Jiang Zemin. The contact persons have been sent to Beijing."
At this moment, the number of Falun Gong practitioners arriving at the provincial appeals offices has reached over 10,000. Falun Gong practitioners can do nothing faced with this situation but go to Beijing to appeal. But the bus in the provincial capital tells practitioners that the authorities forbid Falun Gong practitioners to take the bus to Beijing. No vehicles going to Beijing will allow Falun Gong practitioners to get on.
In order to secure the release of their fellow practitioners and in order to say a true word to the leader of the government, practitioners walk on foot on the streets of the capital, tolerating hunger and braving the cold rain and wind. They hold up their heads and throw out their chests. Among them are principals, teachers, students, factory managers, commercial managers, cadres, retired cadres, retired workers, servicemen, and even peasants who just put down their hoes and had mud on their feet. There are handicapped youth, young mothers with 6-month-old babies held close to their chest and sixty year old ladies. In the heavy rain, practitioners help each other in the troop, hugging the little practitioners in turn. Kindhearted residents of the capital seeing this, take the initiative to hold up umbrellas for practitioners hugging the babies. Peddlers selling vegetables, workers, and all the populace witnessing this know that Falun Gong has suffered great wrongful treatment.
Picture 5: At 10:00 p.m. on July 19, 1999
The sky is cloudy. On the way to the suburb leading to Beijing, large groups of policemen and police vehicles savagely stretch across the road, intercepting all vehicles and all Dafa practitioners on foot going to Beijing to appeal. Under the dark curtain of night, in the muddy road, about ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners are intercepted in the wild open country by the police. The right to appeal that the Chinese Constitution entrusts to citizens is discarded in the dark night. The practitioners are pulled back to their residential areas and are monitored or fined.
Picture 6: From 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. on July 19, 1999
The unyielding Dafa practitioners divide into small groups and proceed. They ride bicycles in groups of two or three, rushing on the way to Beijing. On the way the hotels are controlled by police, the vehicles are controlled by police, the ticket office at the railway stations are also controlled by police, and the trains do not enter Beijing station. Even the taxis are threatened by police, "If there are any persons from other cities, directly deliver them to the jail."
However, kindhearted Chinese take the initiative to help Dafa practitioners. In the dark night, some unemployed workers rent a bus and send it to Dafa practitioners so they can avoid the police. Taxi drivers escort Dafa practitioners free of charge and help them to buy train tickets leaving Beijing.
Picture 7: On July 20, 1999 Beijing under martial law
A portion of Dafa practitioners from around the whole country, from each province, city, and county make it through the layers of attempted interception and sieges and into Beijing, arriving at Tiananmen Square and the central appeals office. Kindhearted Dafa practitioners think here they can find officials who will listen to the populace's voice. Here they can say a true word to the government. Here they can carry out the right to appeal that the Constitution entrusts to citizens. Totally out of their expectations, they see that the central appeals office is also guarded by police and refuses to hear them speak or to accept their letters of appeal.
Pictures 8: July 21
From Jinan, Xinjiang... as soon as the Dafa practitioners from far away get off the train, they are arrested by police. Dafa practitioners coming to Beijing from thousands of kilometers away have no place to appeal. They have been hungry and thirsty for three days. Beijing's temperature reaches 41 degrees C (106 degrees F). The burning intense summer heat bakes Beijing city. The policemen and police vehicles on Tiananmen Square increase. Pedestrians are not allowed to speak. Whenever two to three persons walk together they are arrested.
Picture 9: July 22, 1999
The arrests reach a peak this day. Dafa practitioners coming to Beijing to appeal are entrapped by plain-clothes policemen who pretend to be practitioners from the Shijingshan area. They are forced into buses driving to Asia Olympic Village stadium. At the high temperature of 41 degree C (106 degree F), policemen squeeze practitioners onto the buses, not supplying food or water, not allowing them to go to the bathroom. Dafa practitioners recite loudly Teacher's poems.
To live with no pursuits,
To die with no regrets;
All excessive thoughts extinguished,
Cultivating Buddhahood is not difficult.
True Nature Revealed
Steadfastly cultivate Dafa, the
The raising of levels is what's fundamental
In the face of tests one's true nature is revealed
Achieve Consummation, becoming a Buddha, Dao, or God
(Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Their voices are so loud that they shake heaven and earth. The Falun appears. Dafa practitioners' tears stream down their faces with gratitude to the Teacher.
Pictures 10: At 4:00 p.m. of July 22, 1999
Beijing broadcasts the "banning" decision of the Civil Administration Ministry and Public Security Ministry. It is the fifth day since Jiang Zemin issued the order to arrest Falun Gong practitioners. Dafa practitioners coming to Beijing to appeal become the object of persecution of Jiang's clique. On Tiananmen Square and throughout Beijing city, police vehicles appear one by one, policemen intercept pedestrians, and when they see practitioners they beat them at will in public or force them into the vehicles and take them to jail.
Picture 11: July 23, 1999
Jiang Zemin clamors with rage, "Eliminate Falun Gong in three months!" Overnight, the appeals office becomes the specific institution used to seize Falun Gong practitioners. Facing this catastrophe, out of responsibility to the people, Falun Gong practitioners tell the related officers honestly that practicing Falun Gong has only benefits to the country while doing no harm, and share their personal experience and testimony. However, what waits for them are heavy and cold handcuffs. They are stuffed into the police vehicles and thrown into the dark jails. Jiang Zemin's large-scale persecution of Falun Gong has widely begun.
Picture 12: July 24, 1999
The detention centers, labor camps and jails of each province, city and county across the entire country are filled up with Dafa practitioners. They are forced to recite the "Jail Rules." They suffer various atrocities including wearing death penalty instruments, heavy handcuffs, and shackles, being bound by strings, shocked by electric batons and having nails driven into their fingers.
What kind of crimes have Falun Gong practitioners committed? Why did Jiang Zemin's clique oppose the wishes of people becoming healthy and regaining high morality? Under such circumstances, those Falun Gong practitioners who dare to tell the truth and dare to appeal for the country and for the people openly are really outstanding Chinese citizens.