Unforgettable Memories of “April 25”
(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the State Council to petition. It was a well intended action by a group of sensible people who trusted the Chinese regime and wanted to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests peacefully. Their motives and behavior during the petition were unquestionable.
At two o'clock in the afternoon on April 24, 1999, I heard from another practitioner about what had happened at Tianjin. A scholar named He Zuoxiu in Tianjin published an article called “I Do Not Encourage Young People to Practice Qigong” in a magazine for youth. The content of the article was all about Falun Gong, and included falsified examples to attack Falun Gong. Some Dafa practitioners in Tianjin went to the editors' office and attempted to tell them the facts about Falun Gong. The editors office not only did not listen to the practitioners, but over forty practitioners were detained because of this. After the word about the arrests got out, it was pointed out that the only way to settle the misunderstanding was to go to the national petition office or the State Council. I thought that would be the right thing to do too, as the agency above the Tianjin city level is the State Council. Someone then suggested, “Lets go to the State Council tomorrow.” My tears immediately flowed, as I feared that one day we would not be allowed to practice Falun Gong. I said, “I will go too!” I met several fellow practitioners on the street, they all agreed to go to Tianjin the next day.
I was not sure whether my husband would let me go or not, but my mind was set on going. My husband became very angry when I told him my plans. He shouted at me, “Look at how you are cultivating, you are going to the State Council?” I did not lose my composure. I said patiently, “I know I have not cultivated well, and I need to eliminate many attachments, but if no one goes because they all say they have not cultivated well, then how are we going to resolve this problem? Let me go this time, and I will study the Fa and cultivate more diligently after I come back.” My husband's anger disappeared upon hearing this, and he started to help me prepare for the trip.
I left home at six o'clock the next morning. To my surprise, everyone on the bus was going to petition. Our trip was smooth and we got to Fuyou street at eight o'clock. There were people directing us to walk toward the south-west end of the street. There were people on both sides of the street. Soon police officers directed the petitioners to stand on the right side of the street.
Just as I got up to the sidewalk, I turned around and saw a young couple dozing off by the wall. They were holding a four month old infant. It is said they traveled from Shijiazhuang and arrived at eight o'clock the previous night. They spent the night on the street. Their infant was quiet throughout the day.
I turned to my left and saw a woman in her twenties walking toward my end of the street. She looked like she was picking someone up from the ground. I took a closer look and saw that she was picking up garbage on the street. She picked up some leaves and cigarette butts. From the dust on her fingers and the amount of garbage she had picked up and put in a plastic bag she was holding, it was apparent that she had traveled a long way. She had sweat on her face, and she was quietly bending down again and again... Many practitioners, the police officers, people walking on the street, and myself all gave her respectful looks. At that time, I felt very proud. She is one of us Falun Gong practitioners!
Beginning at eight o'clock that morning, we all stood on one side of the street as we were told. Later on, policemen and police cars surrounded our side of the street. They looked a little tense at the beginning, but once they saw how peaceful and quiet the petitioners were, and that there wasn't much they needed to do, some of them sat inside their cars to rest, and some started chatting with the practitioners. There was such harmony and mutual respect between the police officers and civilians. To keep order on the street, some young practitioners took turns standing by the side of the street. Some practitioners read, some exercised, and some shared their views. No one talked loudly or walked around. If any practitioners unintentionally raised their voices, other practitioners would whisper, “Hey, we are practitioners.” Practitioners treated each other as old acquaintances and constantly checked themselves. Everyone waited for the results of the petition peacefully.
At noon, most practitioners quietly ate a simple lunch brought from home. No trash was left on the street, and some practitioners went around collecting garbage.
One scene I remember very clearly was a family of three generations. The grandmother was 81 years old, and there was a middle aged lady, and the grand-daughter, who was a ninth grader. They came from Xicheng district. They were advised not to bring a mat to sit on as sitting might appear like a "sit-in protest." As a result, the elderly woman stood like everyone else from 8 o'clock in the morning. By midday, the elderly woman got tired, and held a utility pole, alternating her feet to rest a little. The grand-daughter had a major test the next day, so she left early with her grandmother.
As the day went by, everyone waited for updates in a peaceful, quiet, and orderly manner. We heard that a representative had gone inside and explained the situation and requests. First, we requested that Tianjin police release arrested practitioners. The second request was for a rightful cultivation environment, and the third was to allow for the printing and selling of Falun Gong books. Later in the day, we heard the news that the arrested practitioners had been released. We applauded and still remained quiet. At 8:00 p.m., most of the practitioners from my neighborhood left. After 9 o'clock, I heard the news that a government official had responded to our requests. I quickly left with everyone else.
The next day at work, the chairman of our office said, “I heard you were all very orderly yesterday. All the government officials were impressed! Tell us, what's your way of discipline?” I smiled and said, "We have no rule. We only have one phrase, 'we are cultivators'. We encourage, remind and share with each other. We naturally maintain good discipline, which is better than what any rules or restrictions can enforce." The Dafa practitioners' exceptional quality of compassion and self-discipline is an unforgettable memory in my mind.