Stories About the Early Days of the Minghui Website – Part 1
Editor's Note: Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference:”
Only if one can persevere and continually forge ahead does it amount to true diligence. It's easy to talk about, but putting it into action is tremendously difficult. That is why it's said that always cultivating as if you were just starting will surely result in achieving your ultimate rank.
The following is taken from a group sharing article at the 10th anniversary of the Minghui Website in 2009. Many of the practitioners involved in Minghui/Clearwisdom website work cannot share their cultivation experiences in the same way as other practitioners outside of China. To address this issue, a group of practitioners co-authored this article for the purpose of sharing and mutual encouragement among Minghui website project team members at the Fa Conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Minghui Website’s founding. The article has been edited for publishing.
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The Minghui website completed the first ten years of its journey on June 25, 2009. It has evolved from a very simple website to a large group of websites with original content in multiple columns, issues, media forms, sub-domains and languages. How have the practitioners who have been working on the Minghui website been doing during these 10 years? This article will share with you some stories of the early times of the Minghui website.
Master Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Gong to the public in 1992, and in a few short years, Falun Gong spread widely inside China and to North America, Europe, and Australia. By 1996, many cities in the U.S. and Canada had established exercise sites where local people could come to learn Falun Gong.
At that time, the Internet was rising in popularity. Many Falun Gong practitioners were employed by hi-tech companies, or at universities teaching or studying. They established websites in different cities to introduce Falun Gong to the local community. Among those sites, Falundafa.ca, hosted by Canadian practitioners, contained a relatively richer level of contents. In the latter half of 1997, the website opened a bulletin board to post important notices and information.
On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the National Appeal Office of the State Council in Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. Although a temporary solution was reached on the same day, the future outlook was full of tension and pressure, similar to right before a severe thunderstorm. Many incidences of abuse and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners by CCP officials were reported. A simple bulletin board could no longer cover them all. In addition, it might not be appropriate to publish such information on the local Falun Dafa websites.
“Back then there were more than 20 Falun Dafa websites in North America. Initially, these websites published Mr. Li Hongzhi's lectures in audio and video. In order to maintain the purity of the Dafa websites, these websites didn't publish any articles written by Falun Gong practitioners. However, in 1999, our cultivation environment suddenly became complicated. We had to open a bulletin board and publish important notices and articles. We didn't feel at ease publishing the persecution related information on Dafa websites. Upon discussion, we reached a consensus that we would establish a website dedicated to publishing such articles. Such a website would serve the purpose of sharing among practitioners and supporting practitioners in Mainland China by making our voices heard,” said a Canadian practitioner who was then a member of the Canada Falun Dafa Association.
On June 25, 1999, the Minghui website was born. The initial name was “Falun Dafa in North America – Minghui Website.” “Minghui” was named after a two-character word in one of Mr. Li Hongzhi's articles. Later the website name was changed to “Minghui” as the majority of its content came from China. The readers the website served included all Falun Gong practitioners in the world and those who cared about Falun Gong.
According to the Canadian practitioner, “We considered all practitioners for the position of the Minghui website chief editor. We discovered one with outstanding writing skills, thoughts, and efficiency. We selected this practitioner to be the chief editor.”
The chief editor recalls: “Back then, I considered myself a new practitioner compared to the veteran practitioners in Mainland China. My xinxing and understanding of Fa were quite limited. I wasn't sure if I could shoulder the responsibility. So I asked if there were better candidates. I said I could simply take the responsibility of writing and editing. The answer I obtained after a few hours was negative. From the tone and words in our conversation, I sensed both the severity of the situation and the pressure. After a short pause, I committed myself. I thought about the difficult and urgent situation. We must help improve the strongly damaged cultivation environment in Mainland China for the practitioners there, inform the practitioners outside of China and the international society about the current situation in China, and inform practitioners in China and all Chinese how Falun Dafa is doing outside of China. I made up my mind to go to the limit and start my work as soon as possible.”
Practitioner D in Mainland China said: “I had been able to connect to the Internet and in May and June 1999, when harassment of Falun Gong practitioners occurred in China, we sent reports to the bulletin board of the then-Falun Dafa website. Around June 20th, when we sent information again, we saw that the website had been changed to “Minghui Website.” Since then, the Minghui website has accompanied my cultivation during the difficult 10 years. After the persecution started in 1999, we could only go to Internet cafes to visit the Minghui website via proxy servers. At that time, to be able to visit the Minghui website and relay the information to fellow practitioners was not easy.”
Practitioner A in Mainland China told us: “The Minghui website opened on June 25, 1999. On this day, we Dafa disciples in Mainland China felt as if lightning had split open dark clouds at the dawn of a storm.” He continued, “On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appealed for the reputation of Falun Gong. This peaceful action was not met with kindness and conscience on the part of the authorities. On the contrary, the CCP issued secret orders to begin large-scale harassment and suppression of Falun Gong practitioners. Our cultivation environment rapidly deteriorated. Shortly after, the CCP started large-scale arrests. Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China experienced an unprecedented persecution both mentally and physically.”
“Just when most of us were shocked and losing our bearings, we got the Minghui website. Through it, cultivation sharing articles began to be printed and passed around among practitioners in China. The articles contained righteous understanding on the Fa, stories of righteous thoughts and righteous actions, righteous faith in Master and the Fa, and the compassionate deeds undertaken to save sentient beings. All of these encouraged us to face the persecution head on, display the wisdom and dignity we obtained through Dafa cultivation, and clarify the truth to people in a dignified, fearless, and selfless manner.”
Practitioner B said, “I am a Dafa disciple in the northern region of China. I came in touch with the Minghui website in August 1999. On July 20, 1999, the police arrested all the assistants in our region. We had to go to Beijing to appeal. After returning from Beijing, all we heard and read were fabrications and slander against Dafa on TV and in newspapers. We couldn't learn any truthful information. In August 1999, I discovered the Minghui website. It has published the truth about Falun Gong and the persecution now for over 10 years.”
A gentleman in Mainland China told us: “I knew about the Minghui website before the persecution. Back then, the CCP didn't block the site. One day I was searching on the Internet, and I found the Minghui website.”
As the situation evolved rapidly, the article submissions the Minghui website received surpassed 500 every day. The workload of timely response and publishing increased gradually as well.
Part 2: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/20/127582.html
Part 3: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/21/127598.html
Part 4: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/22/127618.html
Part 5: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/24/127651.html