(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners in Ottawa, Canada rallied in front of the Chinese Embassy on April 24, 2015 to commemorate the peaceful protest by 10,000 practitioners in Beijing 16 years ago. The rally also celebrated the withdrawals of over 200 million Chinese people from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.

The practitioners also called on the CCP to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and immediately release Falun Gong practitioners unlawfully jailed in China, including those who are relatives of Canadian residents.

On April 25, 1999, over 10,000 practitioners gathered peacefully in Beijing to ask the government to reaffirm their right to practice, and for the release of practitioners who were detained in Tianjin. The 10,000 people left peacefully later that day, after then-Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji met with a few practitioner representatives. The premier agreed to release the jailed practitioners, and gave assurances that the government did not oppose Falun Gong.

The demonstration was widely reported in international media, and brought international attention to Falun Gong. Soon after, however, Jiang Zemin, head of the Chinese Communist Party at the time, initiated the brutal persecution of Falun Gong. To this day, the communist regime continues to carry out the genocidal policy against innocent Falun Gong practitioners.

The demonstration on April 25, 1999 is regarded as the beginning of 16 years of non-violent resistance to the inhumane persecution, and as an event to encourage Chinese people to walk away from the terror, violence, and lies of the CCP.

Falun Gong practitioners in Ottawa rally in front of the Chinese Embassy to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 peaceful protest in Beijing.

Ms. Xu recalled that she had just entered college and started practicing Falun Gong 16 years ago. “On the evening of April 23, 1999, a practice site assistant told us about the incident in Tianjin, where police arrested Falun Gong practitioners. Others at the site shared their views. We felt that we had basic rights and the responsibility to tell the government about Falun Gong, that it was a peaceful practice, from which every one of us had benefited in improving our health and moral standards. We needed to ask the government to release the jailed practitioners in Tianjin.”

“The practitioners who participated in the peaceful protest in Beijing included some from Beijing, as well as nearby cities and Hebei Province.”

She continued, “Soon after April 25, 1999, the Party initiated the persecution of Falun Gong, and has committed irreparable wrongdoing. Falun Gong practitioners are obligated to explain the facts, to help inform the Chinese people, so they can make the right choice on the issue.”

Ms. Gongyu Dai from the Canadian Falun Dafa Association said in her speech, “Falun Gong practitioners continuously call on the Party to stop the persecution and release all practitioners who are unlawfully jailed, including those who are relatives of Canadian residents.”

She specifically mentioned two practitioners who were recently imprisoned in China:

Ms. Chen Yinghua, daughter of Calgary resident Huang Jinling, was unlawfully sentenced to a four-year prison term.

Mr. Li Xiaobo, father of Toronto resident Li Zhe, was sentenced to eight years on April 21 for telling people about the persecution of Falun Gong. He had previously been imprisoned for eight years for refusing to give up practicing Falun Gong as the authorities demanded. His left eye was blinded from torture he received during that prison term.

Dr. Zhenhua He, who got his Ph.D. degree from the University of Waterloo recalled that he and other Falun Gong practitioners went to the Chinese Consulate in Toronto after hearing of the peaceful protest in Beijing, to voice their support for fellow practitioners in China. He received an interview from Voice of America.

Dr. He recalled, “The reporter asked me, 'How will the issue evolve in the future?' I replied, 'Falun Gong practitioners follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. We will remain peaceful forever.' Actually, for sixteen years, we have continuously and peacefully called for an end to the persecution, and let people know the grace of Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners not only strive for their own rights of belief, but hope that all people will have peace and freedom.”

Dr. He pointed out that the April 25 peaceful protest, and Falun Gong practitioners' perseverance in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance have helped hundreds of millions of Chinese people shun the terror from the communist regime.

“Many Chinese people have learned, thanks to Falun Gong practitioners continuously explaining the facts for years, that the CCP maintains power by using violence and lies. They think over the matter after seeing innocent Falun Gong practitioners suffer from the brutal persecution, and they become clear about the Party's nature. Now more than 200 million Chinese people have quit the Party and its affiliated organizations,” said Dr. He.

He said he believes that China will become a peaceful nation in the future without the CCP.