Toronto: Falun Gong Practitioners Expose Persecution on Anniversary of April 25 Appeal (Photos)
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners' April 25 Appeal at the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing in 1999 was the largest and most peaceful appeal in China. The practitioners' rationality and peacefulness won high praise from the international media. After 14 years of brutal persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Falun Gong's rationality and peacefulness remain unchanged.
To commemorate the April 25 appeal, hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto held a rally and anti-torture exhibition in front of the Chinese Consulate at noon on April 25, 2013, drawing attention to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China.
The practitioners set up banners at the intersection of University and Bloor streets. They exposed the CCP's crime of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and collected signatures on a petition calling for an end to the atrocities. A candlelight vigil was held in front of the Chinese Consulate from 8:00 p.m. To 10:00 p.m. to mourn the victims of the persecution.
Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners hold a rally and anti-torture exhibition in front of the Chinese Consulate at noon on April 25, 2013, exposing the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Steve Engholl, who lives in the neighborhood near the Chinese Consulate, has witnessed Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful protests over the past fourteen years. He made a special trip to the activity to show his support.
Xiaoyu from Liaoning Province recounted her personal experience at the first April 25 Appeal. Speaking at the rally, she said, “I received a phone call from a fellow practitioner, telling me about the arrest of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin. I went to Zhongnanhai [the central government compound in Beijing] around 8 o'clock. Falun Gong practitioners had lined up neatly along Fuyou Street. Many of them were from other cities. Everyone looked calm and peaceful. We stood along one side of the pavement, leaving room for pedestrians. The elderly, children, farmers, businessmen – people of different backgrounds, formed a neat straight line. Only a couple of policemen were visible on street. They relaxed after seeing how peaceful Falun Gong practitioners were.
“I heard that the Prime Minister visited with representatives of Falun Gong. The practitioners in the front row stood, while the ones in the back either read Falun Gong books or did the exercises. Ten thousand people remained quiet. I saw a fellow practitioner pick up cigarette butts on the pavement left by the policemen. A policewoman remarked, 'This is virtue.' The crowd started to leave after hearing about the Prime Minister's [positive] decision around 5:00 p.m. They picked up trash on the street, including the cigarette butts that the policemen had left. The street looked cleaner than before.”
Daphne from Beijing also experienced the April 25 Appeal personally. She said, “All Falun Gong practitioners at the appeal stood quietly along the street, with smiles and peace on their faces. We all knew that practitioners wouldn't be concerned with worldly things. All we wanted to do was to clear our name and ensure a good environment for cultivation practice. There was no shouting of slogans or noise. We all looked calm and relaxed. We had confidence and held [Falun Gong's principles of] Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in our minds.”
Daphne also recalled how her fellow practitioners cleaned up the public restrooms nearby. She said, “How admirable they are! What a pure-hearted cultivation group! Their thoughtfulness and self-discipline surprised the world. However, over the past 14 years such a group of sincere and innocent people has suffered the most brutal persecution the CCP has ever carried out.”
Liu Zhiming is from Sichuan Province. As a fifteen-year-old in 1999, he witnessed the April 25 Appeal. He said, “My mother had cancer. It was cured by practicing Falun Gong. Facing the injustice [of harassment by the government], we decided to expose the lies with our personal experience. My parents and I went to the provincial government. Many people were at the government office. Many policemen formed a line. My parents and I were stopped by the police. We told them that we practiced Falun Gong and would like to tell the government our experience. They let us get past the police line and stand together with other practitioners. Soon, buses arrived. We were sent away. When the overwhelming suppression started in July, we realized that the government had launched a persecution.
“My father was arrested for distributing facts about Falun Gong in 2002. Agents from the 610 Office beat him until his ears were bruised and his eyes swollen. Father was sent to a detention center. He was dragged into a restroom without a security camera, stripped of his clothes, and sprayed with cold water. Inmates turned a fan on him in the meantime. It was in freezing January. Father shivered in the freezing temperature. Two months later, he was transferred to another detention center. He was once forced to stand for twenty-one days and deprived of sleep.”
Zhiming's mother was thrown into prison for four-and-a-half years. Zhiming himself was also harassed by police when he was in school in China.
Mr. Steve Engholl, who lives in the neighborhood near the Chinese Consulate, has witnessed Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful protests over the past fourteen years. He said that Falun Gong practitioners have been exposing the persecution through peaceful means. He stated that the CCP's harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners is completely unacceptable. Human rights should be promoted in the world, and he wondered how such atrocities could be allowed to exist. Mr. Engholl supports Falun Gong practitioners in every way he can, and has helped people learn about the persecution, so that more will stand up to stop the terrible crimes.