(Minghui.org) On July 20, 1999, Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a brutal persecution against 100 million Falun Gong practitioners in China, deploying all of the state resources, including TV, radio, newspapers, the army, police, secret agents and other agencies.

For over 14 years, in the face of the CCP's vicious oppression, Falun Gong practitioners have employed peaceful means to resist the persecution and clarify the truth to people. As a result of their perseverance and righteous faith, they have gained more and more public support in China and worldwide.

People all over the world have sided with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, the main principles of Falun Gong, while condemning the CCP's crimes against humanity. As proof, 140 million Chinese people have quit the Party and its affiliated organizations to date, choosing to symbolically dissociate themselves from the evilness of the CCP.

The most unprecedented persecution in human history is still ongoing today. During this time, each person is given a chance to choose right from wrong and secure a bright future.

The following stories from Falun Gong practitioners in Michigan, USA, reflect how the public support for Falun Gong has grown over the past 14 years.

Recalling the Start of the Persecution

Michigan resident Mr. Zhao came from Shandong Province, China, where he started practicing Falun Gong in 1993. After the persecution began, he was arrested and detained for his faith. Both in China and abroad, Mr. Zhao has never stopped truth-clarification efforts even for a day.

Recalling the start of the persecution, he said: “It was at 3 p.m. on July 22, 1999, when the overwhelming slandering of Falun Gong truly started. In fact, our Fa study and experience-sharing activities had already been secretly monitored since April 25. In July, police were deployed to bus and railway stations; even the Yellow River Bridge had armed soldiers. The purpose was to stop practitioners from going to Beijing to appeal. I made it to Beijing on foot and by bicycle. I had left two copies of my will at home. I was determined to seek justice and not return without it.”

What awaited Mr. Zhao were two arrests and forced labor. The labor camp authorities called in all of his friends and family, and forced him to kneel down in front of them, humiliating him.

The persecution was extremely rampant. Many people couldn't stand the pressure and succumbed to the despotic power. “Even my closest relatives eventually sided with the CCP,” Mr. Zhao said.

Like millions of other Falun Gong practitioners, Mr. Zhao did not give up his belief. Upon his release from the forced labor camp, he was placed on the “wanted” list and had to become homeless to avoid getting arrested again.

As a result of practitioners' tenacious and courageous efforts to clarify the facts to the public—to dispel the CCP's slander and lies that defamed Falun Gong—by 2010, many people in the city where Mr. Zhao lived had quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Truth-clarification materials were being circulated in places such as taxi cabs and shops every day.

“The Party Quitting Club”

Mr. Zhao recalled a fellow practitioner who owned a convenience store. He would clarify the facts to every customer and persuade them to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Over time, they started to call his store the “Party Quitting Club.”

The local police station knew about him, but nobody came to arrest him because the officers had quit the Party on his persuasion as well.

One day, a migrant worker reported him to the police for clarifying the facts about Falun Gong. (Editor's note: During the 14-plus years of the persecution, communist authorities across China have offered monetary rewards to the public for reporting practitioners.) The police ignored his report. The officer on duty said, “We all know this practitioner and that Falun Gong is innocent.”

Mr. Zhao's family have changed their attitude, too, especially after watching a Shen Yun Performing Arts DVD.

Mr. Zhao said: “After watching Shen Yun, their spirit changed. They have now all quit the Party and its affiliated organizations.”

Elected Chinese Residents' Representative

Like practitioners in China, practitioners around the globe have persevered in their efforts to let more people know the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution.

Mr. Zhang is a vibrant gentleman who lives with his wife in a retirement community in Michigan. He used to teach in a high school in Hubei Province, China.

There are more than 50 Chinese families in Mr. Zhang's apartment complex. When the persecution had just started, poisoned by the lies of the Chinese Communist Party propagated oversees, some of these neighbors refused to read Mr. Zhang's truth-clarification materials.

Many elderly Chinese who had survived the Cultural Revolution (an oppressive sociopolitical movement of the Chinese communist regime, 1966-1976) were still afraid of the CCP—even while living in the U.S.—and tried to avoid Falun Gong practitioners. However, practitioners' kind and peaceful demeanor, as well as their persistent efforts to clarify the facts, gradually changed these people's attitude toward Falun Gong.

In 2009, Mr. Zhang was elected the Chinese residents' representative. He was re-elected two years later.

Many people have now started learning Falun Gong exercises, reading Zhuan Falun, and watching Master Li's lectures on video. The weekly newspaper about Falun Gong is also taken very quickly.

Change in Attitude of Chinese Coworkers

Ms. Jia is a technical analyst in a large pharmaceutical company in Michigan. In the past, as soon as her Chinese coworkers heard that she practices Falun Gong, they would become very nervous and try to change the topic. Now, however, these people no longer avoid the topic and have formed a very positive opinion about Falun Gong. They believe it’s a personal belief that shouldn’t be persecuted.

Ms. Jia said: “Once, a coworker came to talk to me about some things she deemed unfair. I shared how I chose to act when I was mistreated. As a practitioner, I could understand the deeper cause of the issue from different angles. The coworker agreed with me wholeheartedly. She said that she could see how Falun Gong practitioners are truly cultivating their hearts, instead of holding on to personal grudges.”

Ms. Zuo is a financial analyst. She said when she was a graduate student over 10 years ago, other Chinese students would stare at her with an unusual look as soon as they learned that she practiced Falun Gong—deceived by the regime's slanderous propaganda, they did not understand what Falun Gong was really about.

“Later on, however, we got along very well,” recalled Ms. Zuo. “One day, a student directly copied the CCP's lies and viciously slandered Falun Gong. I used my personal experience to explain to her why Falun Gong practitioners were being persecuted and needed to clarify the facts. The student stopped being aggressive and even shed tears. She also stopped saying bad things about Falun Gong.”

Ms. Zuo said her Chinese coworkers openly discuss the topic of Falun Gong nowadays. During lunch time, they frequently read the Epoch Times in Chinese online and discuss events happening in China.

Recently, they talked about the Chinese regime's sin of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. A coworker said, “It wouldn't be right if the CCP is not destroyed.”

Ms. Zhou works in a multinational auto company. She and a few other people have been doing Falun Gong exercises near the cafeteria during lunchtime since 1999.

She said: “Almost all of my Chinese coworkers bring lunch. When we do the exercises, they would watch us from nearby.”

Anti-Censorship Software Popular in China

Mr. Lu is a business owner. Because of his work, he has some connections with business people and entrepreneurs in China.

He said: “What's struck me the most is Chinese people's longing for the truth. It's so strong.”

Since the CCP controls all media, including the Internet, people in China do not have free access to objective, truthful information.

As soon as Mr. Lu would show people how to surf the Internet using the anti-censorship software, they would be eager to try it, he said. They would also pass the software to others after installing it. Many people have learned the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution this way.

Those in senior management positions of central enterprises, leading figures of relevant ministries and commissions, and owners of high-tech and manufacturing companies in China are no strangers to the anti-censorship software. Mr. Lu has had an opportunity to speak to many of them at various trade shows in the U.S.

He said: “Because I am a Falun Gong practitioner, they actually like to chat with me. They surf the Internet using the anti-censorship software every day and know everything that is happening overseas. They are very sympathetic to Falun Gong and expressed that the persecution is wrong.”