Reminiscing About the 1998 Falun Gong Conference in Gansu Province, China
(Minghui.org) Back in 1998, the Falun Gong Association in Gansu Province decided to host a conference on June 28. This was their third local conference for Falun Gong practitioners to share their cultivation experiences and insights. Nearly 10,000 people attended the conference, far exceeding the numbers of the previous two conferences.
The conference was scheduled to take place two days before July 1, the one-year anniversary of Hong Kong returning to China. The Chinese communist regime took a lot of precautions with regard to group activities near July 1. The authorities thus decided to have the conference canceled.
Local Officials Allow Falun Gong Conference to Proceed
Mr. Yuan Jiang was the chairman of the Falun Gong Association in Gansu Province at the time. (After the Chinese communist regime banned Falun Gong in 1999, he was tortured to death for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.) He and several other members of the association had a meeting with the local government, asking if the decision could be reversed. The association had paid for the rental of the venue and distributed the tickets.
The local government eventually agreed to allow the conference to proceed on the following conditions:
1. No gathering near the venue before and after the conference
2. No noise and no discussion about politics
3. No traffic-blocking
4. No littering
5. The conference would be reduced from seven to four hours.
Impressed with Practitioners' Peaceful Demeanor
On the day of the conference, nearly 10,000 practitioners from Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia provinces arrived at the stadium where the conference was going to take place. The stadium had arranged a lot of staff to maintain order, yet they were surprised by the peaceful and disciplined demeanor of practitioners. Everyone waited orderly and quietly in line to enter the stadium. Once inside, everyone sat quietly, waiting for the conference to begin. Those practitioners who were unable to get a ticket volunteered to direct traffic and pick up trash around the stadium.
There were many plainclothes police officers inside the stadium, as well as many security guards patrolling in the corridors with batons in their hands. They were highly vigilant, keeping an eye out for any disorder.
Mr. Yuan announced at 8 a.m. that the conference would now begin. Seven practitioners shared their experiences. No one in the audience spoke while they were speaking. A staff member told me that it was even more quiet than the People's Congress. It was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop.
The seven practitioners shared how they searched within for their own attachments and how they learned to elevate their state of mind when they felt treated unjustly. Their words were sincere and genuine. Even the security guards eventually sat down and listened. The staff even opened the doors for practitioners without tickets to enter and join the conference.
When the conference ended four hours later, practitioners picked up trash around them before they left the stadium. They exited the stadium as orderly as they had entered it in the morning. The staff said: “We welcome you to come again. We have never seen anyone as nice as you.” It was a very unusual experience for those people who were used to ruling people by force.
I heard that those government employees who attended the conference by invitation were very impressed with Falun Gong. Some wanted to learn Falun Gong and read Falun Gong books.
Despite 14 Years of Persecution, Falun Gong Remains Strong
It has been 14 years since the Chinese communist regime decided to suppress Falun Gong. Eventually everyone from the Chinese regime will realize that Falun Gong is based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and that practitioners are only interested in improving themselves. They are self-motivated to follow Falun Gong's principles and don't need to be monitored by the state.
No one can stop a person from wanting to become a better person. When a person aspires to be a better person with high morals, he or she will only benefit the society. Where people have freedom to practice Falun Gong, there is hope for the people.