The April 25 Event Changed My Life
(Clearwisdom.net) Editor's note: To commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the April 25 Appeal, Clearwisdom presents this as one of a series of republished articles from years past. The April 25th Appeal was notable not only for its size, but also because it was remarkably peaceful and orderly. Some 10,000 practitioners gathered in central Beijing that day, peacefully protesting for their civil rights. The CCP propaganda machine, however, in its quest to crush Falun Gong at the bidding of then Party Chairman Jiang Zemin, twisted the facts to serve its own motives. To this day, CCP propaganda accuses Falun Gong of "laying siege to the Zhongnanhai Central Government Compound" on April 25, 1999, falsely alleging that the 10,000 gathered posed a violent threat to the nation and its leaders. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, as this series of articles documents from various angles.
Falun Gong practitioners consist of people from different ethnicities, professions, social backgrounds and varying personal circumstances. Ms. Ying Chun came to the U.S. from China twelve years ago. Born into a family that believed in Buddhism, she became a Falun Gong practitioner in 1999 after the April 25 appeal. Although the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) negative propaganda has generated much confusion and misunderstandings among many people, the April 25 event helped Ying Chun to learn the facts about Falun Gong, which encouraged her to become a practitioner.
A Clearwisdom correspondent (CW) interviewed Ms. Ying Chun (YC) on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 event.
CW: Can you tell us about yourself?
YC: I came to the U.S. twelve years ago, and I suffered from poor health after my arrival. I had migraine headaches, chronic stomachaches, and constipation. I had suffered from insomnia for ten years. My life was a living hell. My marriage was a nightmare. My parents arranged our marriage, and there was little love. We finally divorced when our son was one year old. I became a single mother. Years later I was unable to financially support my son's college education, so I asked my younger sister for ideas.
My sister was in the U.S. and encouraged me to apply for a visa. At that time my chances for a visa to visit my sister were slim. But to my surprise, I got the visa. After I came to the U.S., I helped my sister to care for their baby. A few months later, I started feeling ill. The doctors found two tumors in my chest, and I had the tumors removed in the hospital. Fortunately, the tumors were benign.
To better my health, I thought about practicing some kind of qigong. It could improve my health and also be something I did on the weekends. A friend told me about a qigong lecturer who charged $300 per person. Although it was not cheap, we still decided to attend. But a couple of days later, my sister told me about an advertisement by Falun Gong in a local Chinese paper, and that the class was free of charge. The moment I heard the words "Falun Gong," I thought, isn't that what I have been looking for? I really have to learn about it. So my sister and I went to a Falun Gong practice site instead of attending that qigong lecture.
CW: Which year was that?
CW: You had heard about Falun Gong before then, right?
YC: Yes, I was doing grocery shopping one day in late April 1999. I read a Chinese newspaper with the headline, "Falun Gong Surrounds Zhongnanhai."
CW: Was that about the April 25 event when thousands of Falun Gong practitioners appealed for fair treatment of Falun Gong?
YC: Yes. The newspaper also published a large photo of Master Li Hongzhi. The headline story covered the whole front page. I felt a shock. The story was negative, but I don't remember the details. Still, I felt a strong desire to learn about Falun Gong.
CW: So the April 25 event piqued your curiosity, and you wanted to learn more about the practice, to see if it could help your health?
YC: Right. I learned a form of qigong in China, but eventually I had some questions that the teacher could not answer. So, I always wanted to find a master who knew the answers. Initially I thought that perhaps I could go to Taiwan and find the teacher there. But it turned out my real Master was in the U.S. After I watched the nine-day lecture recordings and began to do the Falun Gong exercises for two months, I felt a major boost to my health. Soon, all of my illnesses were cured. It was a truly amazing feeling. I felt for the first time the joy of perfect health.
CW: How have you felt after you practiced Falun Gong? What changes have you experienced?
YC: I was in poor health. No medicine could have cured all my illnesses. No drugs could cure my stomachache, my migraines and insomnia. After practicing Falun Gong, all my diseases disappeared.
I once suffered from acute dysentery in China. For days I vomited and had diarrhea, and could not eat anything. I was so weak that I could only stay in bed. My mother told me that our house had a statue of Bodhisattva Guanyin and suggested that I ask for her blessing. When I was little, I always had a fantasy about the South Sea and hoped one day I could go there and meet the Bodhisattva. So, I asked the Bodhisattva Guanyin with a pure heart to help me. Soon, my symptoms stopped. I was amazed but did not understand why. Years later, after I practiced Falun Gong, I began to understand this and many other perplexing questions.
CW: You had some unpleasant personal life experiences, have you experienced any change in that regard after you began to practice Falun Gong?
YC: Indeed, I went through a fundamental transformation after practicing Falun Gong. In the past I carried terrible baggage while going through life. All those unfortunate things were exhausting. I attempted suicide once, without leaving any words to my family. But I was rescued, thankfully.
After I learned Falun Gong, I realized the meaning of life. Now I treasure my life very much.
CW: What have you realized through your experiences?
YC: Before I became a practitioner I lived a selfish life. I dreamed of living a happy life and sometimes unintentionally caused harm to others, but I felt no guilt. When conflicts arose, I always pointed the finger at others. Even within my family, others were always wrong in my mind. After I became a practitioner, I began to correct this from the roots. The principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance are guiding me to change my thoughts and behavior, so that I can become a better person.
CW: Living in this country, has your life been impacted by the persecution?
YC: Yes, even here. Let me give you an example. While we stayed in New York, one day after the persecution started, three people, including myself, went to a company for a job interview. The Chinese owner was willing to hire me and asked me to start work the following Monday. But on Sunday evening, the owner called and informed me not to show up to work. It turned out that he refused to hire Falun Gong practitioners because of what he believed from the CCP's propaganda.
CW: Your parents, do they live in China? Have you had a chance to visit them?
YC: I talk to them often. My father warned me not to talk about anything other than family affairs on the phone. My father has a terminal illness and had surgery, but my Chinese passport is expired. I went to the Chinese Consulate to renew my passport in the summer of 2008, so that I could visit my father. The Consulate people said that China was hosting the Olympics, and they asked me to come back three months later.
I went back three months later. A woman asked, "Are you practicing Falun Gong?" I said "Yes." She told me that I have to write a statement and explain what activities I have participated in. She handed me a piece of paper. I wrote of my motivation to practice Falun Gong and some experiences.
When she saw my answer, she told me, "Wait a minute, let me make a phone call." After a while she told me, "No, you can't have your passport back. They sent it to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security." "Why?" I asked. "I have no idea," she replied.
The persecution has endangered my family in China. A close relative was even afraid of answering my phone call and said, "Don't ever talk about Falun Gong on the phone. When you mention Falun Gong, our phone will be automatically monitored. Please, do not talk about Falun Gong, so that we can continue to live a normal life."
CW: Falun Gong practitioners have been steadfast in exposing the persecution, and telling people about the Falun Dafa practice and about why they resist the persecution. During this process, have you ever had doubts about your choice?
YC: No. I have never had a moment of doubt on my cultivation path. So many Chinese people, in China and overseas, do not know the facts and still believe in the government's lies. We hope that people will find out the facts and change their thinking. For those who want to change their life and get better health - if they could learn the facts with a sincere attitude, they will get a priceless reward, which is impossible to get from anywhere else.
CW: Thank you for sharing your personal experience with our readers.