(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners held a rally on April 24, 2016 to commemorate a peaceful protest that took place 17 years ago in Beijing, and to call for an end to the ongoing persecution of the meditation practice in mainland China.

On April 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to protest the illegal arrest of practitioners and to ask the government for the legal right to practice their faith. The protest attracted international attention. Nevertheless, the persecution of Falun Gong began in July of that year under the order of Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The rally also supported those who have withdrawn their membership in the CCP and its affiliated organizations.

Falun Gong practitioners at the rally in Hong Kong on April 24

The rally was held at the King's Road Playground in North Point. Many people, including an award-winning pro-freedom writer, members of the Legislative Council, and human rights lawyer spoke at the rally or via recordings. They expressed support for Falun Gong practitioners and condemned the Chinese regime for the crimes it has committed in the persecution.

Freedom Writer: Falun Gong Abides by High Moral Standards

Lu Xuesong, an ICPC (Independent Chinese PEN Center) Lin Zhao Memorial Award winner and a writer who promotes freedom of expression, spoke highly of the peaceful protest in 1999. “The China under the CCP's reign has never had a civil movement so proper and rational. That is why this peaceful large-scale protest 17 years ago gained the international spotlight,” said Ms. Lu.

She continued, “Falun Gong practitioners abide by high moral standards, which people in society look up to. In the face of the brutal persecution, they continue to fearlessly and openly tell people of the world not to believe the Chinese regime's propaganda and participate in their crimes.

“The practitioners did not give up their faith or divide society with hatred and fights. Just like how they were on April 25, 1999, they remain strong and continue to protest with the most rational and peaceful means.” 

Falun Dafa Association in Hong Kong: To Side with Good People

Mr. Kan Hung-Cheung, spokesperson for the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association

Mr. Kan stated, “Unfortunately, the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin decided not to listen to the people and launched the nationwide persecution campaign three months after the protest. For the past 17 years the practitioners have been telling people what is behind the persecution in the same way they have always done, with kindness and reasoning. More and more people have learned the facts of the persecution over the years and chose to side with good people.”

Members of Legislative Council Show Support

Tsang Kin-shing, formerly a member of the Legislative Council, speaks at the rally.

Tsang Kin-shing, a former member of the Legislative Council, admired the practitioners' continued efforts in talking to people about the persecution of Falun Gong. “As long as there are Chinese people, there will be Falun Gong practitioners telling the facts,” he said. He concluded by expressing his hope that the persecution would end soon.

Pastor Fung Chi-Wood, former member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council

Pastor Fung Chi-Wood, a former member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, told the practitioners, “Friends, thank you for showing the world a higher level of life and the importance of the soul.”

Several members of the Legislative Council, including Albert Ho Chun-Yan, Leung Yiu-chung, and Wu Chi-Wai, spoke to the audience at the rally through recordings. They praised the practitioners' perseverance in upholding their faith and said that Jiang Zemin and his regime must be held responsible for the crimes committed in the persecution.

Human Rights Lawyer: Protest Sets Good Example

Zheng Enchong, a human rights lawyer based in Shanghai, said that the peaceful protest demonstrated universal values and sets a good example for China's civil movements.

Learn more about the events of April 25, 1999:

Video: The Protest That Changed China: - a 21-minute documentary filmThe Peaceful Appeal of April 25, 1999 - a discussion of the topic from many anglesApril 25th Events - coverage of events marking the anniversaries of April 25