(Clearwisdom.net) On the evening on April 25, 2008, nearly 200 practitioners from the greater New York City area held a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the April 25 Appeal and protest the 9-year brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)

Practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Consulate in New York City

Passersby learned about the persecution

Candlelight formed two Chinese Characters "Fa Rectification"

Practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Consulate in New York City

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners conducted a peaceful appeal at the National Appeals Office in Beijing, requesting the CCP authorities to release 45 Tianjin practitioners who were unlawfully arrested. They also requested an open cultivation environment and the right to publish Falun Gong literature. During the one-day appeal, the then Prime Minister and other officials met with representatives of the practitioner. After their requests were largely addressed, the practitioners left. The appeal was very quiet, peaceful and orderly, and it was regarded as the largest, most rational and most successful appeal ever in communist China. The practitioners' rationality and calm persistence in their belief also received high remarks from the international community.

However, on July 20, 1999, the CCP and Jiang Zemin's regime started a massive persecution of Falun Gong and the principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." The persecution has lasted for nine years.

Every year, on this special date, practitioners around the world hold various activities to commemorate this historic appeal and to expose the brutality of the CCP.

Outside the Chinese Consulate in New York, practitioners displayed banners which read, "Commemorate the Ninth Anniversary of the April 25th Appeal," and, "Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong." Some practitioners demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises. In front of the group, candles were lit, forming two Chinese characters "Fa Rectification."

At the vigil, practitioner Zhenqi Gao, who participated in the first April 25th Appeal, spoke about the appeal. He said, "During the appeal, we all stood quietly and didn't block traffic. From documentaries of the appeal, you can see that we did nothing but carry out a peaceful appeal. However, the CCP later used false evidence and accused us of attacking the central government and started to persecute Falun Gong. Nine years have past, Falun Gong has spread to more than 80 countries, while the CCP is greatly weakened and is about to collapse due to this unlawful persecution."

Practitioner Sheng Liu also shared his experience the April 25th Appeal. He said, "Our local coordinator told us that some Tianjin practitioners had been unlawfully arrested and we would go to appeal next day (April 25). Outside the National Appeals Office, we stood quietly and took turns reading Falun Gong books. Nobody was talking or eating. I left in the afternoon. Our coordinator was in his 40s and was later sentenced to prison for 10 years."

Dr. Damon Noto, a member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, said that the CCP is behind the most evil crime against humanity. "The CCP is a brutal regime. It has not only continuously slaughtered innocent Chinese people but also systematically harvested organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. There is overwhelming evidence which suggests that the regime has an organ bank using thousands of Falun Gong practitioners as organ sources," said Noto, "The CCP is behind the most evil crime on Earth."

New York Falun Gong practitioner Wanqing Huang appealed for his brother Xiong Huang. Wanqing said, "My brother disappeared five years ago. He was detained in a labor camp for two years for conducting a peaceful appeal in 2000. In April 2003, we talked over the phone and he told me that public security officials were searching for him. Since then, I have not heard from him again and no one knows his whereabouts."

At the vigil, Yun Song, a representative from the Eastern US Falun Dafa Association, said, "In the past 9 years, we have been telling the world one thing: Falun Gong teaches people to be good. Because the practice is being persecuted by the CCP, we want to tell you the facts."

"We urge the CCP regime to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and release all detained practitioners immediately," Yun said.