New York: Rally in Chinatown Commemorates the April 25 Peaceful Demonstration and Calls for an End to the Persecution (Photos)
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners held a rally on April 26, 2014 in Flushing Chinatown, Queens, New York, to commemorate the 15 th anniversary of the April 25th peaceful demonstration and call for an end to the persecution in China.
Witnesses to the peaceful demonstration 15 years ago shared their experiences at the rally. A few Falun Gong practitioners reviewed the brutal facts of the persecution, and supporters condemned the human rights violations in China.
Shi Caidong, a Falun Gong practitioner who attended the demonstration 15 years ago, said at the rally that the appeal was rational and peaceful, and then-Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji agreed to release practitioners detained in Tianjin. However, Jiang Zemin, head of the Chinese Communist Party at the time, launched the persecution three months later.
Practitioner Calls for Mother's Release
Wang Shanshan, a practitioner who managed to leave China, told her mother's story. Ms. Wang's mother Liu Aihua has been arrested seven times, and sentenced to labor camp once during the persecution. On November 10, 2012, Ms. Liu was arrested again and sent to the First Detention Center in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province.
In the past 17 months, Ms. Liu has been forced to do heavy labor, and lived in a dark and humid cell. Her family is not allowed to visit her. In the detention center, she was forced to watch and read materials that slander Falun Gong.
Ms. Liu was recently sentenced to four years in prison. Her retirement stipend, totaling over 24,000 US dollars, was taken away from her.
Liu Qishun, a practitioner and a physician in Guangzhou, recently escaped from China. He was under strict surveillance by the subdivision community guards, who reported on Liu's actions to the local police.
“The Communist Party Behaves Like a Organized Crime Outfit”
Wang Zhiyuan, spokesman for the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), condemned the communist party.
WOIPFG's investigation revealed that the communist party shut down the labor camp system in 2013, but set up many brainwashing centers all over the country for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2013, a large number of Falun Gong practitioners was arrested (4942), held in brainwashing centers (737), illegally sentenced (796), and died as a result of the persecution (108).
Mr. Wang said that policemen arrest practitioners and extort money from their families. On February 16, 2014, policeman Mi Guangliang from Zhonggong Police Station in Jinan City, Shandong Province, arrested practitioner Chai Diyun , and asked her for five million yuan as a condition for releasing her.
The CCP also retaliates against human rights lawyers who defend Falun Gong practitioners. On March 21, 2014, four lawyers, Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie, were arrested and abused in a detention center in Jiangsanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, a day after they went to visit their Falun Gong clients at the Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center, a black jail in the area.
The lawyers were badly beaten at the brainwashing center, and suffered broken ribs as a result.
“We Will Not Tolerate Violence”
Martha Flores-Vazques, the District Leader in Queens County and Executive Director of Community Prevention Alternatives for Families in Crisis, has been concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong for many years.
The violent attack against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York in May 2008 was still fresh in her mind. She said: “The truth is that in this society here today in the heart of Flushing, the district where I’m elected to represent the public, we will not tolerate violence.”
“The Communist Party Will Disintegrate Soon”
In her speech, Yi Rong, a spokesman from the Global Service Center for Quitting the Communist Party, said that 163 million Chinese people have quit the communist party and its affiliated organizations.
“Recently, about 100,000 Chinese people per day publish their announcement of quitting the party on the Epoch Times website. The party will disintegrate soon,” said Yi Rong.
Yi Rong praised them for their courage and wise choice. She called upon more Chinese to recognize the evil nature of the communist party and abandon it.
Zhang Erping, a spokesman for Falun Gong, briefly reviewed the facts of the persecution and a history of the communist party. He pointed out that the communist party has sought to destroy traditional values and spiritual beliefs. He also called upon the Chinese people to step forward to protect their own culture and people.
“I hope that everyone will make the right choice for your own future. Stand on the side of justice.” said Zhang.
Chinese People: Such a Rally Is Rarely Seen
Many people watched the rally and took videos or pictures.
Mr. Zheng, who came from China to New York one month ago, was amazed by the rally. He followed the procession and took many pictures.
“I have never seen such a rally in the last 50 years,” Mr. Zheng said.
“Four things amaze me: Chinese held a rally in the United States; the rally is well organized; Falun Gong, which has been banned in China, has freedom here; and many Westerners practice it,” he said excitedly, “I will show these pictures to my family and friends in China.”
Mr. Zhang praised the practitioners' peaceful resistance. “Everybody should have freedom of speech and belief. The suppression is wrong,” he said: “It's great that we have democracy and freedom in America. The so-called freedom in China is fake.”
At the end of the rally, 16 Chinese people quit the CCP and its affiliated organization.