A Witness to the Event that Triggered the April 25, 1999 Appeal
(Clearwisdom.net) Over ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners went to the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing on April 25, 1999, to appeal for a lifting of recent restrictions on the practice of Falun Gong. The immediate trigger for the appeal was police officers in Tianjin beating and arresting practitioners on April 23, 1999. The following is the recollection of a Tianjin Falun Dafa practitioner.
On April 11, 1999, the Youth Science & Technology Expo, an official publication of the Tianjin Education College, published “I Don't Approve of Teenagers Practicing Qigong,” an article from He Zuoxiu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Science and a prominent Marxist-atheist. He quoted a case which fraudulently criticized Falun Gong. The case was first brought up by Beijing TV and was proven false in 1998.
Hoping to tell the editors of my own experience and correcting the false accusation, I went to the Tianjin Education College on the afternoon of April 23, 1999. I saw that many practitioners had already arrived. Most were Tianjin local practitioners. Some were reading Zhuan Falun, and others were sitting in meditation. We didn't block any campus roads, even though the college was full of practitioners. We were waiting quietly for a reply from the magazine editors.
At around 4:00 p.m. the police arrived, and attempted to begin driving away the practitioners, but no one left because we had not yet heard a reply. One officer called for the attention of the practitioners through the campus speaker system. The atmosphere became intense immediately. Suddenly a practitioner saw a purple Falun in the sunlight, and then Faluns in various sizes and colors were seen revolving in the air shinning under the sun, and others also saw it. We observed them quietly and responded with applause from time to time. This was the first time I had seen Faluns all over the sky. It was a holy scene.
The officers started to use force. They beat a practitioner who was middle-aged and wearing cream-colored clothes and made his face bleed. We didn't fight or talk back, but peacefully told them our own experience. Some practitioners in front of the college entrance began reciting Lunyu from Zhuan Falun. We joined them reciting it again and again.
It was after six and was about to get dark. The officers ran to block the road and moved practitioners by force. Four officers dragged an older lady, lifted her up and carried her away. One by one, they dragged, beat, and carried away the practitioners around the entrance. We cultivated Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance, and did not fight or talk back. They were trained, and beat practitioners fiercely.
The media lied when they reported the event, “The whole process was peaceful. No one was arrested, and there were not any issues.”
While driving away the officers told the remaining practitioners that they were following orders, and we could appeal through the normal channels. The practitioners then went to the city government. While we were sitting in an open space in the garden beside the government building, representatives of the practitioners asked the government to release the arrested practitioners. In an hour, we were told that we could appeal to the Tianjin City Government Letters and Visitors Bureau the second day. After we heard this we left.