Reviewing Some Facts about the Peaceful Appeal at Zhongnanhai on April 25, 1999
Why did Falun Gong practitioners appeal?
The Tianjin Police had arrested over 40 Falun Gong practitioners who went to clarify the truth to a Magazine Agency about an article that slandered Falun Gong. In order to explain the incident to the Bureau of Investigation of the Central Committee and plead for their release, practitioners went to Beijing.
Why did practitioners appeal to the Central Committee?
As early as June of 1996, the Propaganda Ministry of the Central Committee instructed all levels of government to criticize Falun Gong. Guangming Daily News launched the first attack with the article "Alarm Bell Keeps Ringing." The News Publishing Bureau subsequently prohibited the publishing, distribution and sale of Falun Gong books. Before 4.25, police all over had already begun to seize Falun Gong books, and interfere with group practices. The arrest of practitioners by the Tianjin Police was an escalation of the persecution. The problem had already reached the point it could not have been resolved without the intervention of high-level leadership from the Central committee.
How many people went to appeal on 4.25?
From Beihai Park's South Gate to the west side of the Xi'an Gate, and from Fuyou Street to the alley west of it--in these two places alone, there were thirty thousand people. Practitioners that came later were stopped on the outer peripheries. Practitioners from out of town were not allowed to leave the train stations, or were blocked at highway checkpoints and not allowed to get into Beijing. The Chinese government only acknowledged the greatly reduced figure of ten thousand, but the actual number far exceeded that.
What did the practitioners who appealed ask for?
There were three requests at the time: 1. for the Tianjin police to release the Falun Gong practitioners who were taken into custody. 2. that Falun Gong practitioners be accorded a non-hostile environment in which to practice. 3. that the printing of Falun Gong books be permitted.
How did the practitioners who appealed on 4.25 conduct themselves?
The Beihai Park to the Xi'an gate is a main thoroughfare. On 4.25, traffic flowed through smoothly all day long. Some practitioners took the initiative to ensure the smooth flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The practitioners walked alongside the edge of the road, allowing pedestrians to use the sidewalk. They were calm as still water and were the most peaceful, reasonable, and well-meaning of appellants.
How did the practitioners of 4.25 end their appeal?
Around 10 PM, a message came from the West Gate of Zhongnanhai: "The representatives have returned, and they have conveyed the practitioners' requests to the leaders of the Central Committee. All practitioners arrested by Tianjin police have been released. Everybody can now go home." The practitioners cleaned up their surroundings, even picking up the cigarette butts dropped by the police. In less than 20 minutes, all the practitioners had left.
One unsettled case:
Prime Minister Zhu Rongji asked the representatives at the time if they had ever read his commentary on Falun Gong. The representative said they had never seen it. Many people wondered who had withheld the commentary, and how it was withheld. As of now, this is still an unsettled case.