New York Falun Gong's Press Statement on the Second Anniversary of the April 25th Incident
April 24, 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen; members of the Press:
Two years ago, Falun Gong was thrust upon the world stage by a gathering of Falun Gong practitioners outside the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing. This gathering was painted as an organized "protest" by the Chinese state-run media. Consequently, over the past two years, the actual events surrounding this gathering and the tragic decisions made by Jiang Zemin during this time period have yet to be made known to the public.
We have called this press conference today to present to you a comprehensive report on the events surrounding the "April 25th Incident" and the alarming communications issued by President Jiang Zemin during this time.
In this report, we present the actual events that transpired around the State Council Appeals Office, demonstrating that this gathering was merely a peaceful and legal appeal, and was, to a large extent, coordinated by Chinese government officials themselves. Falun Gong practitioners were merely following the instructions of government officials in terms of where and how they should make their appeal. Additionally, this report contains new information that we have recently verified with an inside source demonstrating that the crackdown on Falun Gong, initiated and enforced by Jiang Zemin, had nothing to do with the nature of Falun Gong itself. It has recently been confirmed that Jiang Zemin, in certain communications during that time, indicated that he believed neither Falun Gong nor its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, had the ability to amass such a large power base. He voiced suspicions that the practitioners assembled outside the State Council Appeals Office had been orchestrated by rival senior officials within the Chinese government itself or by foreign forces. In an apparent attempt to solidify his power base, he stated that immediate action was needed to crush Falun Gong at all costs.
Consequently what the world has been witnessing over the past 20 months is a wide section of the Chinese people being used as pawns in a desperate political struggle carried out by Chinese President Jiang Zemin against real or imagined enemies within his own government.
As this report shows, the "April 25th Incident" was not a protest or even a demonstration against the government. A few days prior to the incident, Falun Gong practitioners in the nearby city of Tianjin had been beaten and detained merely for visiting the office of a local newspaper to clarify the truth regarding accusations that were made in a slanderous article. The paper had initially concluded they had made a mistake and offered to rectify the situation. Soon after, however, officials in Tianjin were contacted by Beijing and instructed to tell practitioners that they must take their appeal to the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing. Consequently, word spread to different regions and practitioners came individually and in groups, to the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing where they were then directed by police and government officials to line up along the streets next to Zhongnanhai, the Central Government compound. The practitioners quietly agreed and proceeded to wait quietly and peacefully for their appeal to be heard.
Soon after practitioners appeared outside the State Council Appeal Office, as a Premier Minister should do, Zhu Rongji came out of the compound and was received with a standing ovation from the practitioners. He brought a number of practitioners into the compound for a discussion. Falun Gong practitioners made their appeal, those detained in Tianjin were released, and all the practitioners around Zhongnanhai went home quietly, satisfied that their legal appeal had been handled well by the government officials.
As our new information clearly indicates, however, Jiang Zemin had come to a very different conclusion (incidentally, Zhu Rongji would later be made to do a self-criticism before members of the Politburo for addressing the concerns of the practitioners on April 25th). On a number of occasions following the incident, President Jiang Zemin issued communications to "Politburo members and other concerned leaders." In these communications, Jiang indicates his suspicions that high-ranking Chinese government officials may have been behind Falun Gong. As the report shows, practitioners came to Beijing because they were told to do so and were merely seeking help to resolve the problem in Tianjin. There was absolutely no organized effort on the part of Falun Gong practitioners. Jiang Zemin, however, suspected enemies lurking behind the gathering. Thus, beginning with directives issued in these communications, he initiated and directed a crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners throughout the country.
And so, what are the implications of this report? In the past 20 months, over 50,000 practitioners have been detained, thousands more tortured and/or sent to labor camps, and 191 have died due to torture while in police custody -- not because of what they practice, not because of what they believe, and not because of who they are. This entire crackdown has been carried out because of Jiang Zemin's perceived need to defend and solidify his power within the [party name omitted] party and the Chinese [party name omitted] government. Falun Gong practitioners do not have any information regarding what power struggles may or may not exist amongst the Chinese government's leaders, nor do we have an interest in these political matters. What we are concerned with is the fact that Falun Gong has been demonized, its practitioners detained, tortured and killed, and its founder declared "public enemy number one" by Jiang Zemin in his efforts to use Falun Gong as a pawn to sustain his power base and advance his own political ambitions.
This is absolutely unacceptable. The world must act. One man cannot be allowed to continue to torture and kill innocent people in a tragically misguided attempt to advance his own interests.
Category: Peaceful Appeal of April 25, 1999