April 25 Demonstration Led to Renewed Interest in Falun Gong in Taiwan
(Minghui.org) Around 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the National Appeals Office located next to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) compound in Beijing on April 25, 1999. They sought the release of 45 Falun Gong practitioners who had been illegally arrested in Tianjin. This came to be known as the April 25 demonstration.
Many media outlets covered the peaceful demonstration. They found practitioners standing calmly on the sidewalk, with no chanting of slogans or unruly behavior. Some read Falun Gong books while others practiced the Falun Gong exercises.
After Taiwanese newspapers featured the event on their front pages, many people looked for group exercise sites to learn Falun Gong. The number of exercise sites increased dramatically afterward, and each free lecture workshop was packed with more than 70 people.
Mr. Lin, a volunteer at the Tongshan Street exercise site, said that more than 100 people attended the Falun Gong lecture workshops. The high attendance continued for three consecutive sessions. Even the venue’s lobby was crowded with people, and it was difficult for participants to stretch out their arms when doing the first set of exercises.
When Master Li Hongzhi (the founder of Falun Gong) held a lecture series in Taiwan in November 1997, there were only 35 practice sites in Taiwan. More than 2,000 sets of Falun Dafa books were printed in June 1998, and they were sold out within one month. More than 14,000 copies of Zhuan Falun had been printed by April 1999, followed by 15,000 more in the remainder of that year.
Suppression in Mainland Increases Interest in Falun Gong
Ms. Chu, a lawyer who practices in Taiwan and the United States, read a newspaper report that more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners had gone to the Communist Party compound.
She was impressed and called to inquire about the instructional workshops that were spread out over nine days. Ms. Zhu had been diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer at the time. To her utter surprise, the illness disappeared after she attended the workshop.
Mr. You, who lives in Yilan, also started practicing Falun Gong after seeing the news of the April 25 demonstration. He said, “I remember when the report mentioned the Falun Gong practitioners’ peaceful demonstration. It also said that there was no shouting, no loudspeakers, and no throwing eggs.”
“The report also mentioned that when they left, they did not leave any garbage. Even the cigarette butts from the police were picked up. This surprised me. I thought I had to learn what Falun Gong exactly is.
Mr. You went to the bookstore to buy videotapes of Master Li's lecture series in Guangzhou. He spent a few days watching it. He said, "After I started practicing Falun Gong, I stopped drinking and let go of my hot temper. My health got better. I was happy.”
Less than three months after the demonstration, on July 20, 1999, the CCP launched its brutal campaign against Falun Gong, under which practitioners in China have been systematically imprisoned, tortured, and even killed for their organs. In the following 19 years, practitioners around the world have peacefully protested the persecution.
Falun Gong was first introduced to Taiwan in April 1995. Twenty-three years later, there are more than 1,000 exercise sites and hundreds of thousands of practitioners, a number second only to mainland China. They include professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, civil servants, military police, business people, and students.