Worldwide Vigils and Rallies Mark 15th Anniversary of April 25 Falun Gong Demonstration
(Minghui.org) Another candlelit vigil was held on April 25 in front of the Chinese consulate in Chicago. As the peaceful Falun Gong exercise music played in the background, Mr. Yu Chao's mind traveled back in time to 15 years ago.
He recalled: “I said to my wife the night before April 25, 1999: 'If we take this step to peacefully demonstrate for the rights of Falun Gong practitioners, our lives will be completely unpredictable from tomorrow on. But someone needs to tell people the facts that Falun Gong is good.'” Mr. Yu and his wife were studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing at the time.
“I knew that night that if Falun Gong gave me the spiritual strength to do this, the suppression that had already been going on for three years before April 25, 1999 wouldn't succeed. Falun Gong will spread all over the world,” he continued, “We were only unsure of one thing: will we live to see that day?”
Mr. Yu and his wife joined over 10,000 practitioners who quietly demonstrated in Beijing, asking that the law reaffirm their right to practice and that a number of practitioners detained by police in Tianjin be released. The 10,000 left peacefully later that day, after then-Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji met with Falun Gong representatives. Zhu agreed to release the Tianjin practitioners and gave assurances that the government did not oppose Falun Gong.
After 15 years, Mr. Yu says that he knows the answer to his question now: “Falun Gong has spread all over the world. Through practitioners' persistent non-violent efforts to tell people the facts, the world has come to know what Falun Gong is and what the CCP is. I'm proud and very fortunate!”
Chicago is one of the locations where Falun Gong practitioners held rallies and candlelight vigils around the world during the April 25, 2014 weekend, renewing calls for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to end a 15-year campaign of suppression. The campaign includes live forced organ harvesting, which has become well-documented and a recent focus of global condemnation.
Practitioners in China also celebrated the anniversary with banners posted in public areas to inform people: “Falun Dafa is great” and “the world needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
A procession regarding quitting the CCP and its affiliated organizations was part of the Flushing march in New York on April 26. “From high ranking CCP officials to average citizens, nobody can escape from the control and abuse of the CCP. It's just that the forms and degrees are different.” Ms. Sun, a spectator, commented: “I like the banners, especially the one that says 'CCP is not China.” I think this is common sense.”
Mr. Chen Gang, who currently lives in Munich, Germany, was one of the 10,000 petitioners outside of the Zhongnanhai compound on April 25, 1999. He shared that he was very impressed by the quiet demonstration and the practitioners' spiritual strength.
Mr. Chen experienced the Tiananmen Massacre and helped rescue students and citizens wounded by the CCP's bullets. He knew all too well the CCP's brutal nature, and had only seen two kinds of responses from Chinese people: fighting back with violence or backing down from the violence.
“The Falun Gong practitioners' quiet strength lit up hope in my heart. I thought that the Chinese people were finally regaining their dignity,” he added.
Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the Chinese consulate in Munich, Germany on April 25, 2014 to call for an end to the persecution and expose the crimes of forced live organ harvesting in China.
“Mom, I'm Proud of You!”
Ms. Jiang was only 13 years old on April 25, 1999. She started practicing Falun Gong at the beginning of 1999, along with her mother. Her adolescence was quite different than the average teenager in China: her mother was detained for not giving up her belief in Falun Gong. The family was forced to pay a large amount of money to secure her release.
Her father was implicated and lost his job. The family had to live with a huge amount of debt. Her elementary school teacher was tortured to death for practicing Falun Gong. As a teenager, she was placed under huge pressure. Nevertheless, she and her mother didn't give up their belief.
Their faith in Falun Gong and confidence in people's conscience grew stronger. They started producing truth-clarification materials at home and gave them to people in the neighborhood. The police broke into her home in April 2007 when her mother was alone at home. Her mother eventually managed to escape, but has been forced to go from place to place for the past seven years.
Ms. Jiang managed to leave China later. On the anniversary of the April 25 demonstration, she sends a greeting from her heart: “Mom, I'm proud of you!”
“Even though I have had a very different adolescence, I'm proud of being my mother's daughter. Her faith in truth has deeply inspired me and influenced my life. I hope we will all work together to end this persecution. I hope my mother will come home soon. Father and I miss her so much.”
The weekend's events included those held in New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and more.
Related articles in Chinese: http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2014/4/27/伊州学员在芝加哥总领馆前烛光守夜-纪念四二五-290604.html