(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, around 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice their spiritual faith. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officially launched the persecution of Falun Gong three months later. Practitioners outside of China hold various events around April 25 each year to commemorate the historic “April 25th Appeal.” 

This year, however, we can no longer hold rallies or candlelight vigils as we had during the past 20 years, due to the ongoing pandemic of the CCP virus (also known as Wuhan virus). 

Some practitioners held virtual, digital events at their own homes to remind each of us of the courage and faith demonstrated by 10,000 of our fellow practitioners 21 years ago.

While thinking about the path we’ve walked in the past 21 years, I suddenly realized that there is some connection between the April 25th Appeal and today’s pandemic, two seemingly unrelated events.

The “April 25th Appeal”

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body cultivation practice based on the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Since being introduced and taught to the public in May 1992, it has helped millions of people regain health and elevate their character. The practice spread rapidly across China, mostly through word of mouth.

As it gained tremendous popularity, with the number of practitioners exceeding the CCP's own membership, the CCP started to undermine the practice. Practitioners were harassed at their practice sites and defamatory reports started appearing in newspapers.

After 45 Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin were unlawfully arrested on April 23, 1999, around 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners decided on their own to appeal to the National Appeals Office, and demand the release of their fellow practitioners.

The 10,000 practitioners showed up around the National Appeals Office on April 25, 1999. They lined up by the roadside and made sure that they didn’t block traffic. There was no shouting of slogans or display of posters. People were just standing there quietly, some reading the book Zhuan Falun, the main teaching of the practice.

Seeing the peaceful behavior of Falun Gong practitioners, the police officers deployed to keep an eye on them became relaxed and chatted among themselves. Some talked with the practitioners. The atmosphere was filled with peace, harmony, and mutual respect. 

During the day, the then prime minister met with Falun Gong representatives in person. He agreed to look into their requests, and to release the arrested practitioners. 

Upon hearing the news in the evening, Falun Gong practitioners left in the same orderly and peaceful manner as they had come in the morning. 

What was more surprising was that there was not even a tiny piece of trash left behind on the ground. Even cigarette butts left by police were picked up. 

Falun Gong practitioners' kindness and self-restraint earned high praise from local people and police officers alike. Many of them started to learn about Falun Gong and later became practitioners themselves. 

The “April 25th Appeal” may have set a precedent for seeking solutions with kindness, peace, and rationality, something rarely seen in China's modern history. On a deeper level, it offered China a precious opportunity to return to its traditional culture and value system, so that it could truly become a prosperous nation grounded in moral values. 

The CCP’s violent and deceptive nature, though, wouldn't allow a peaceful solution. Three months later, the nationwide persecution of Falun Gong started. Tens of thousands of innocent Falun Gong practitioners have since been subjected to unlawful arrest, detention, coercive brainwashing, imprisonment, and torture. Some were even killed for their organs. 

Pandemic: An Inescapable Fate

Fast forward to today. With the coronavirus outbreak, our busy lives all came to a halt, and we are now stuck at home as we practice social distancing to curb the virus’ spread.

In a way, it is no surprise that the virus broke out in Wuhan, as it is where the first defamatory TV program against Falun Gong was produced, answering the call from the CCP to persecute Falun Gong.

Coincidentally, the day when Wuhan was locked down on January 23, 2020, was also the 19th anniversary of the CCP's broadcast of the Tiananmen self-immolation hoax demonizing Falun Gong.

History tells us that disasters often occur when there is corruption in governance and a general moral decay among the people. The deadly plagues that struck the formidable Roman Empire for its cruel persecution of Christians were such examples.

With the persecution of Falun Gong and suppression of the universal values of “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” social norms and morality in China took a sharp decline during the past 21 years—from toxic milk powder to “gutter oil,” from cardboard stuffed buns to fake vaccine, people stop at no evil in making money and pursuing personal fame and gain. 

Twenty-one years ago, the CCP’s totalitarian rule prompted practitioners to risk their lives appealing at the National Appeals Office to pursue freedom of belief.

Twenty-one years later, because of the CCP’s deceptive and oppressive nature, they covered up the outbreak in its early stages, gagged whistleblowers, and blocked external investigation, which eventually allowed the regional epidemic to quickly evolve into a global pandemic.

As infection cases and death tolls are still on the rise daily, people have noticed that countries, cities, and individuals that have close ties with the CCP were hit the hardest by the virus, and many victims in China were members of the CCP.

It is more important now than ever that we recognize that the CCP is the root cause of the disaster, and practice social distancing from it.

Lessons in history ought to be learned and remembered. The CCP should be held accountable for its horrendous crimes against humanity, and be abandoned. The persecution of Falun Gong must be stopped. When humanity as a whole can elevate morality and be able to distinguish good from evil, virtue from vice, the divine might offer us a helping hand in the face of calamities in the future.