My Personal Experience as an Eye Witness of “7.20” 1999
(Minghui.org) On July 20, 1999, Falun Dafa practitioners, who live by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, began to be brutally persecuted in mainland China. The persecution continues to this day.
Despite the unprecedented brutality, Falun Dafa practitioners have not wavered. Instead, the practice has spread to over 100 countries all over the world. Because practitioners have clarified the truth for over 14 years, more and more Chinese citizens have realized that the persecution is wrong and that the Chinese Community Party is irredeemable.
At the beginning of the persecution, road blocks were set up all over China to try to prevent practitioners from entering Beijing to appeal for Dafa. Countless practitioners overcame numerous difficulties to travel to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to appeal. They wanted to tell the world that Falun Dafa is a righteous Fa and that what the CCP did was wrong.
Recalling these events reminds me of the wonder and miraculousness of Dafa, as well as Dafa practitioners' firm belief in Dafa and Master's tender protection. I would like to share my experiences from that historic time.
The day before
On the morning of July 19, 1999, a local Falun Gong instructor was arrested. After we heard about it, we went to the local government to explain things. The local government officials said that they had received instructions from Beijing, that they could not make any decision, and that we should go to Beijing to appeal. Many Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing right then. That afternoon, all trains and buses for Beijing stopped running, and employers began monitoring their Falun Gong practitioners.
After I heard the news, it was already after lunch, and all the traffic heading toward Beijing was stopped. We heard that many practitioners had gone to Beijing on foot or rented cars, and several taxis were stopped on the way there. My family and another practitioner decided to go to Beijing by bicycle. We took back roads to avoid roadblocks. We saw many practitioners walking toward Beijing, from children to senior citizens, in groups of a dozen to several dozen. It was a magnificent sight.
Due to the heat and roadblocks, we only traveled about 20 miles that day. We still ran into a roadblock at night. They stopped our bikes, so my spouse and I left, but a fellow practitioner was arrested and a bag inside the bike that contained 2000 yuan cash was left behind. It began to rain, but we only had one thought: "Get to Beijing as soon as possible, we won't allow anything to sin against Dafa." We walked through a cornfield toward Beijing.
Overcoming difficulties to get to Beijing
The next morning we approached a road and wondered what to do next. A bus stopped in front of us, and the conductor told us to get on: “Don't worry, they searched hard yesterday, but no one is searching today. Come on.” We changed buses as we approached the next city and went to another place about 200 li from Beijing.
When the drivers learned that we wanted to go to Beijing, no one dared to take us. They said that some of their cars and vans were stopped because they took Dafa practitioners to Beijing. We all hesitated, then one young man found a taxi for us that took us another 100 li and dropped us off. This county was very close to Beijing. Patrol vehicles were everywhere at night and armed to the teeth.
At midnight, it was not as hot, so we hurried along the road. A patrol car saw us and turned around to follow us. We were standing in front of a small hospital. Suddenly the door opened and a group of people came out. The patrol car stopped, turned around, and left. It was amazing.
We encountered a river next, but the bridge was guarded. We could hear their voices clearly, so it was not possible to walk across the bridge. We surveyed the river. It didn't seem too deep, and the slope on the other side seemed reasonable. We safely got to the other side and decided to rest until morning. After daybreak we were all shocked to find out the slope was very steep, and would be very hard to climb even during daylight. How did we do it? It was unbelievable.
We were wearing sandals, making it very difficult to walk on the small country roads, and we all developed blisters on our feet. We wanted to buy a bike, and when we arrived in the next village, we immediately met someone who sold bikes. What a coincidence! We felt Master's protection and the wonder of Dafa.
We arrived at the Zhuozhou area around noon, faced with another river and roadblocks on the bridge. We did not know what to do. It was very hot, and there was almost no one on the road. A shepherd was sitting under a small tree with his goats. We heard someone ask the shepherd, “Why don't you go home? It is so hot, and you are usually home by now. What is wrong with you today?” He answered that he would go home in a while. We approached him and asked for directions. He told us over and over again to walk along the river, the water was not deep, and we could easily walk across. After that, he went home.
We went to the river and walked along it. The deepest the part was at our chest but the current was powerful. Without his guidance we would not have known what to do. With his help, we passed the last difficult hurdle. We rode our bike and arrived at the suburbs of Beijing the next day. We took a bus to Tiananmen Square and spent 20 days in Beijing, until being arrested and escorted back home.
Challenges in Beijing
Many practitioners were not very well prepared well due to the changing state of affairs, because they wanted to arrive in Beijing in time to prevent things getting worse. Some ran out of cash, some ran out of clean clothes, some of them cleaned their clothes in the park and wore them again the next day. Almost all of us who went to Beijing rested in parks, the subway, or cheap motels. Our diet was also very simple.
At the time, most of the assistants were arrested and detained. The official state media slandered and defamed Dafa all over China. There were many of us in Beijing, and everyone still firmly believed in Master and Dafa. We were determined “not to return home until the Fa rectifies the situation” (our thinking at that time). We did not think about ourselves. That itself verified how magnificent Dafa is and how great Master is.
Apple orchards surround Beijing, and nearby mountains and hotels filled with Falun Gong practitioners. One day we went to Badachu Park to climb the mountain where we met many practitioners. Someone began reciting “Climbing Mount Tai” from Hong Yin }}. He started the first sentence, someone behind him recited the second sentence, and so on. We looked at each other and smiled at all those fellow practitioners!
Meeting fellow practitioners from all over China
We met Dafa practitioners from all over China at the Apple Orchard Hotel. Even though we had never met before, we all felt so close. There was a fellow practitioner who worked at the Qingdao government (later I read her experience sharing article on the Minghui website), as well as administrators from factories in the Northeast, teachers from different universities and colleges, students, etc. I remember a couple from the Baoding area--the husband did not practice, but he accompanied his wife. He said, “Falun Dafa is so good, how can they say to stop practicing just like that. They have to have reasons. I came with her to support her.”
Particularly when the evil communist regime issued an extradition notice for Master, fellow practitioners were all very anxious and did not know what to do. There was all kinds of hearsay. Some practitioners wanted to go to an American Embassy.
Two sisters from Dalian went to the embassy against the recommendations of many fellow practitioners, but they went anyway. They never returned. We heard that before they got the embassy, they were arrested by a group of people, who pushed them into a black car and drove away. There were people nearby that tried to stop them, yelling “Good people are being arrested!” The car still drove away. The atmosphere was oppressive, and we often heard about fellow practitioners being arrested, but all the fellow practitioners we met were very firm, and we were able to discuss the situation on the basis of the Fa.
When we were resting in a grove of trees near Yongdingmen Railroad Station, a practitioner from northeast of Yingkou told how their group of seven came by bike, taking them six days to arrive in Beijing. As soon as they arrived, local police showed up. But then they heard that the practitioners came from Yingkou, successfully traveling through numerous roadblocks and arriving in Beijing safely, they were all moved. They said, “You came to appeal for your Dafa and your Master, and you made it! It is remarkable! You must have reached consummation, you can go home now. We will not take you away today. Rest well tonight, go home tomorrow. No matter what, you have to go tomorrow, otherwise we will be in trouble.” Then the policemen left.
While we rested under the trees near a museum, discussing the events with three to four local practitioners, we were eating ice cream bars and dropped the wrappers. After a while, a man picked up our wrappers and said, “I have been observing you for some time now. From your words I realize you are also Dafa practitioners. No matter where we are and under any circumstances, we need to pay attention to our deeds. How can we casually discard trash like this? Particularly in the current situation, we need to cultivate our xinxing more.”
A young couple from Shenzhen saved up 100 thousand yuan by doing small jobs. They took all their cash with them and helped fellow practitioners, using up almost all their savings. We shared together at times, we witnessed their firmness, and many fellow practitioners were able to stay because of their help.
There were also practitioners who refused help and tried to cope with their circumstances on their own. We saw two young fellows near a food vendor. We learned that they were from Shandong Province and were local assistants. They had already used up all their funds and had to scavenge items to sell. They told me they had decided to find a job in Beijing and wouldn't go home until the Fa rectified the situation. I was deeply moved. I took out 200 yuan for them, but they refused to take it. I told them that meeting them was predestined and invited them to have a meal with us, sharing on the basis of the Fa. They did agree to have lunch with us.
Under an underpass was a young woman with her child who was only a few months old. She also came to appeal for Dafa. Her child would smile whenever he saw fellow practitioners and cried whenever he saw plainclothes agents. They also ran out of funds. When practitioners tried to give her money, she also refused, even though they were concerned that the child would cry nonstop. I do not know what kind of relationship we had with them, but when we gave them money, the child held onto it and smiled.
We also saw two brothers from Jinzhou making a living by doing small jobs in other cities. They also came to appeal for Dafa in Beijing. They often contacted Beijing practitioners and found Dafa books for others to study. They also often shared with fellow practitioners and encouraged each other. Later on we read on the Minghui website that fellow practitioners were looking for them. It has been over a dozen years, and I wonder how are they doing.
I saw a young fellow practitioner from Shandong Province in Xidan Mall, who had just escaped from his hometown. He told us that he had been arrested and held in Beijing Shunyi Detention Center where he was severely beaten. Later he was escorted back to the local police department, and the local authorities told his family to watch him closely, but he was able to escape and came to Beijing again. Even though it had been two weeks since leaving that detention center, I still felt some big bumps on his head left from the beatings.
When we talked with fellow practitioners regarding our experiences and what we witnessed at that time, we learned that many practitioners were held in Beijing's Fengtai Gymnasium. Almost all of them saw the strings and strings of Falun in the sky, and some even saw Master's Fashen in the sky. Even though it was very hot, ordinary people could not handle it even when they were in an air-conditioned room. Countless Falun Gong practitioners were forced to sit on the concrete under the baking sun, no water available, no bathroom breaks. This included many children as well as senior practitioners. No one had heat stroke or anything similar. There were many such supernormal phenomena.