On April 25, 1999, I Stood in Front of the Gansu Provincial Government Headquarters
(Clearwisdom.net) Although the April 25 peaceful appeal happened qw years ago, I would like to recall my experiences on April 25 in 1999, to prove from another angle that the Chinese Communist regime had long plotted to frame Falun Gong and looked for excuses to justify its persecution.
Background of the April 25 Appeal in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province
Gansu Province witnessed a series of incidents between late 1998 and early 1999. What I personally experienced included the following:
1. The Gansu Daily Incident
The Gansu Daily published an untrue report on Falun Gong, and about 200 practitioners in Lanzhou City went to the newspaper's general office to clarify the facts. We arrived before dawn and did nothing but to do the exercises on the sidewalk in front of the office. When the offices opened, officials received our representatives. Mr. Yuan Jiang, who later died as a result of the persecution, Practitioner G, and several others represented us to explain the situation to the officials. The newspaper corrected its mistake. The entire process was quiet and peaceful.
2. Authorities Interfere with Activities to Promote Falun Gong in front of the Telecommunications Bureau
This probably happened in April 1999. Once after studying the Fa at Practitioner G's home, she told me that there would be group practice on Sunday in the open space in front of the Telecommunications Bureau. Several practitioners at Lanzhou University and I went together that day. When we arrived around 8:00 a.m., we saw that the space was fully taken up with many propaganda placards belonging to the Lanzhou City Police Department. We could find nowhere to hang our banners and posters. More than a thousand practitioners had to stand along the roadside to do the exercises. We left quietly after finishing the exercises. From this incident we realized that the Lanzhou City assistance center coordinators' home phones were tapped.
3. Interference at Practice Sites
The Lanzhou University practice site was set up in 1996. Initially we practiced at the unfinished library building construction site. University Security Section agents stopped us from doing the exercises there in late 1998. We changed to several other locations [on campus], but the head of security had officers drive us away. I contacted the security head several times, asking him to allow us to practice and introduce Falun Gong on campus, but I was rudely turned down. Finally we had to do the exercises on the sidewalk opposite the university. After the 1998 winter vacation, after finishing doing the exercises on the street, we opened our eyes and found that Practitioner L's overcoat he had placed in front of him was gone. On another occasion after we finished doing the exercises, a middle-aged man came over and inquired about the practice. He asked me what activities he ought to take part in after practicing Falun Gong, who I had contact with, how much I charged, and other questions. I answered him honestly, because Falun Gong doesn't have any secrets. We just do the exercises, study the Fa, and introduce Falun Gong. Our activities are free of charge. Anyone who wants to come can come, and they are free to leave if they want. At that time we all thought this man was strange. Looking back, having lived through 12 years of the persecution, I realize that man was collecting “intelligence” about Falun Gong.
4. Philosophy Professor Ordered to Write an Article Criticizing Falun Gong Prior to April 25
I came across Mr. C on April 27, 1999. He was an instructor in the Philosophy Department at Lanzhou University. I told him that I had been to the provincial government on April 25. He said, "I admire your courage, but I advise you not to do that. You don't understand the CCP." Mr. C. is a true philosopher, an independent thinker. He told me that Gansu Province Ministry of Propaganda officials had contacted him prior to April 25 and ordered him to write an article criticizing Falun Gong from a philosophical point of view. He refused to do it.
Circumstances on April 25 in Lanzhou
I received a phone call from the Chengguan District Assistance Center coordinator, Mr. Yu Jinfang, the morning of April 25, 1999. (Mr. Yu was later illegally sentenced to imprisonment because he had helped Mr. Yuan Jiang. He died as a result of the persecution in 2006.).He told me that many practitioners in Beijing that day were going to the State Council Appeals Office to appeal for the release of 45 practitioners in Tianjin who were unlawfully arrested when they tried to clear up a false newspaper report. It happened that two practitioners from a city in Gansu Province were arrested two days before, in circumstances similar to the Tianjin Incident. We thought we should also go to the provincial government to report the situation and secure the two practitioners' release. So several practitioners from Lanzhou University and I went to the headquarters of the provincial government.
Few practitioners were present when we arrived at the government compound gate. Several of us stood on the edge of the sidewalk while holding banners reading, "Falun Dafa" and "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." Many more practitioners arrived later and stood behind us. Practitioners left the passage to the gate of the government building unobstructed, without affecting the daily work of the provincial government.
More and more practitioners gathered in the morning. The sidewalk on Zhangye Road where the provincial government is located was fully packed, and practitioners filled the small lanes across the street. No police maintained order, because everyone was self-disciplined. Some practitioners exchanged their understanding of things taking place in low voices. Some sat on the ground to do the sitting meditation. Some passersby asked what we were doing there. We took the opportunity to introduce Falun Gong to them. If some people raised tricky questions, we patiently explained. No officials in the provincial government paid attention to our appeal, nor did anyone come out to ask why so many of us were standing there; nor did any official have a dialogue with our representatives. But from the radio we learned that then-premier Zhu Rongji had expressed his position about the Falun Gong issue, and the peaceful appeal of over 10,000 practitioners came to a proper resolution. At around 5:00 p.m., following Mr. Yuan Jiang's advice, we left the provincial government headquarters.
After the April 25 Event in Lanzhou
After the April 25 event and before I left Lanzhou, we felt even greater pressure. Coordinators of assistance centers in Lanzhou were under surveillance. Local police station officers harassed practitioners in the name of checking on household occupants and identification cards. They also recorded practitioners' identities and the numbers of practitioners at practice sites. Lanzhou University Security Section officials also recorded information on several of us practitioners and refused to let us do the exercises and introduce Falun Gong on campus. The banner reading "Falun Dafa" we had hung on the street during our exercises on Sunday was confiscated.
The president of my department's student union predicted that, given the regime's way of handling things in its previous movements, the CCP would find hack writers to criticize Master's teachings and then ban all of our activities. Those who refused to comply with their demands would be punished, and those who had been to appeal at the provincial government would see the scores settled at opportune moments. I didn't believe then that anyone would treat kindhearted people so insidiously.
But the last 12 years has proven the student union president's prediction accurate. We truly didn't expect that the CCP and Jiang's clique to be so wicked.