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Contrasting the “April 25” Appeal of 1999 with Current Trends of Mass Uprising

May 07, 2012 |   By Ouyang Fei

(Minghui.org) In over 60 years of communist rule in China, regardless of the politics governing the first 30 years, or the economic advances of the last 30 years, the tyrannical nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has hardly changed.

Similarly, people's resistance to the tyranny has never stopped. From the Tiananmen student movement of 1989, the massive appeal of more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners on April 25, 1999, along with the group protests that have been escalating in all regions of the nation since 2004, all tell the story of a suffering nation tenaciously struggling and fighting for its freedom, and resisting tyranny.

The Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 was a fight for political freedom. The surging group protests that are happening right now are mostly for material interests and are caused by conflicts and hatred between the officials and the people. However, the Falun Gong April 25 Appeal was purely for freedom of belief, the freedom to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a good person, and the freedom to cultivate, become physically fit, and raise one's moral character. That is exactly why the Falun Gong April 25 Appeal and the resistance of the persecution in the past 13 years have been exceptionally peaceful and rational.

If we change our perspective and focus on the ups and downs of mainland China during the last 30 years of its history, we can easily see the significance to the nation's future, which lies in the April 25 Appeal.

The “April 25 Appeal” refers to the group appeal of more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners at the State Bureau of Letters and Appeals located near Zhongnanhai (the central headquarters for the Chinese Communist Party and the Central government of China) in Beijing. The then Premier of the State Council, Zhu Rongji, greeted Falun Gong practitioners in person and instructed the person in charge of the State Bureau for Letters and Appeals to meet and have a discussion with the practitioners' representatives. During the conversation, Falun Gong practitioners listed three requests: 1) to release the more than 40 practitioners that were arrested two days earlier in Tianjin, 2) to provide a fair and lawful environment for practicing and cultivating Falun Gong (from 1997 to 1998, the public security agencies conducted nationwide covert investigations and harassed Falun Gong practitioners), 3) to allow Falun Gong books to be openly published through regular channels (The Publicity Department of the CCP Central Committee prohibited publication and distribution of Falun Gong books in 1996). By 9 p.m. that evening, preliminary results were achieved and the practitioners that were arrested in Tianjin were released. The Falun Gong practitioners that had gathered to appeal quietly dispersed, and the incident ended peacefully. The April 25 Appeal was not an isolated, sudden event. It was an attempt to protect freedom of belief and rights in response to suppression.

Unfortunately, eager to establish despotic power, Jiang Zemin launched a personal war three months later on July 20 and compelled the CCP to persecute Falun Gong completely and comprehensively, using the entire nation's resources.

The background of the time when the persecution began was that the CCP was pursuing the appearance of economic prosperity. Many people were indifferent to the sudden persecution that was similar to the Great Cultural Revolution, because the economy was growing. When facing international criticism, the CCP officials often responded by telling people how great the development of the Chinese economy was and how many food and clothing problems had been solved. The quick success in economic development became the CCP's bargaining chip for deceiving both the Chinese people and the international community. It had also become the CCP's excuse to suppress freedom of belief and destroy the moral awakening taking place among the people.

However, the Chinese people soon tasted the bitter fruit. On one hand, instant profit organizations and a class of extremely wealthy entrepreneurs were springing up and rising rapidly, while on the other hand there was a plundering of the massive lower classes' material benefits and an extreme disregard for people's lives. Social issues such as farmers losing farmland, forced demolition and relocation, environmental pollution, industrial workers protesting for their rights, uneven distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor, and opposition between government officials and the people caused waves of large-scale group protests. The CCP responded with even more violent repression, and as the vicious circle continued, Chinese society again entered turbulent times.

According to statistics obtained by relevant departments, approximately 8,700 incidents involving the masses took place in China in 1993, and 10,000 incidents in 1994. By 2003 the number had reached 60,000, in 2005 it rose to 87,000, and in 2009 there were over 90,000 incidents. According to an estimate that the Wall Street Journal cited from Professor Sun Liping of Qinghua University, 180,000 mass incidents of protests and riots took place in China in 2010. Due to the widespread use of the internet and cell phones, many mass incidents were widely spread and attracted close attention inside and outside of the nation before the government blocked the news.

On the surface, social unrest is caused by conflicts between officials and the people over benefits. In fact, it is accompanied by another cause--the moral decline of social integrity. This is inevitably the result of the CCP's economic development pattern with atheism as the leading cause. In April 2001, facing a series of severe food safety incidents, the premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao couldn't help but to sigh, “The lack of integrity and the moral decline have reached such a serious point...” “...if the national quality is not improving and there's no moral strength, it's never possible (for a country) to become a truly powerful and respected nation.” The CCP's mouthpiece Seeking magazine published a burst of three articles regarding the “current moral state” of China in January, February, and April of 2012. Even though the writers were only trying to make up ridiculous excuses for the moral decline caused by the CCP, it amounts to an admission to the depth of the morality problem.

Behind the endless group protests, every incident is in fact a reflection and portrayal of the moral decline. For example see the officials' greed and corruption, law enforcement officers' injustice and disregard for life, and public interest groups working in collusion with gangsters. The people long for a society that values integrity, kindness, and a sense of justice. Where is there an escape from this path? Some call for strengthening the rule of law, but the law is always executed and implemented by people. If the people are corrupt, how is democracy and the rule of law the solution? Some call for the government to put greater stress and emphasis on moral education, but morality restrains the heart, while the government restricts people's behavior. It would only be counterproductive if we depended on the government or political movements to reconstruct morality. It has also been proven throughout history that power cannot reconstruct morality. Power itself without restriction is the root cause of corruption. Unrestricted power with an atheistic mentality is the real force pushing the decline of morality.

Moral reconstruction has to come from changes of the heart and the constraints of ideas and beliefs. It can be said that freedom of belief is the first step to getting out of the moral crisis in China. The government does not need to do anything, but a person with beliefs will want to be a good person from his or her heart. What the government can do is to give people such a right, not to repress it and persecute it brutally.

Facing the Chinese society's moral chaos today and looking back on the April 25 Appeal of 10,000 practitioners in 1999, the Falun Gong practitioners are protecting their freedom to believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and fighting for the right to be persons of high moral character. Jiang Zemin did not follow heaven's will. He not only didn't respond positively to the April 25 Appeal and restore the freedom of belief to Falun Gong practitioners, but he instead used this event as an excuse to persecute people. What Jiang destroyed was not just the freedom of belief for tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, it was the moral foundation of the Chinese nation. This alone will nail Jiang onto history's pillar of shame.