Was the Appeal on April 25, 1999, the Cause of the Persecution?
(Clearwisdom.net) Editor's note: To commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the April 25 Appeal, Clearwisdom presents this as one of a series of republished articles from years past. The April 25th Appeal was notable not only for its size, but also because it was remarkably peaceful and orderly. Some 10,000 practitioners gathered in central Beijing that day, peacefully protesting for their civil rights. The CCP propaganda machine, however, in its quest to crush Falun Gong at the bidding of then Party Chairman Jiang Zemin, twisted the facts to serve its own motives. To this day, CCP propaganda accuses Falun Gong of "laying siege to the Zhongnanhai Central Government Compound" on April 25, 1999, falsely alleging that the 10,000 gathered posed a violent threat to the nation and its leaders. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, as this series of articles documents from various angles.
This is the tenth year since over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal on April 25, 1999. Many people have questions about this. Three months after that appeal on April 25, the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party) launched the massive persecution against Falun Gong. Many people have consequently considered it the cause of the suppression.
Among Falun Gong practitioners, many lived through the Cultural Revolution, and even the young ones experienced the Tiananmen Square Incident on June 4, 1989. After witnessing the CCP's brutality in its past political campaigns, they know all too well the outcome of dealing with the CCP. Then, why did Falun Gong practitioners still go to Beijing for such a large scale appeal? This remains a big question to many outsiders.
The answer is actually very simple. Cultivating according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be better people, we thought, "How can the government disallow it?" After witnessing some government agencies harassing Falun Gong practitioners for a long time, practitioners thought, "Is there anything wrong with trying to be a better person? It has to be that the government officials have misunderstood this and we need to clarify what it is we are about. Everyone knows that "stability" is the highest priority for the CCP. Although the purpose of practicing Falun Gong is not to change society, following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance does indeed have the effect of helping to stabilize society." With these thoughts, Falun Gong put their fears about the CCP out of their heads and went to Beijing to appeal, openly and aboveboard. Because many of us shared these same thoughts, naturally about 10,000 practitioners showed up to appeal.
In the past several decades, the CCP has launched many campaigns with claims that they will improve overall social behavior and conduct. They've also been touted as improving people's moral level. But the results--as we have seen--are always very minimal. This is because political campaigns focus on the outward formalities and fail to change a person's heart. In contrast, practicing Falun Gong is completely different. Practitioners are clear that the purpose of life is to return to their origin and requires one to be a better person in the first place. Because of this, practitioners voluntarily act to be better citizens by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, without any campaign needed.
However, within the context of present-day China, where atheism dominates the ideological field because of the CCP, harassment against Falun Gong had been going on all along, given the fact that Falun Gong is a Buddha Cultivation Way that cultivates both mind and body. Some members of the CCP had planned to suppress Falun Gong much earlier. But because Falun Gong is righteous and Falun Gong practitioners were following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, the CCP was not able to find any excuses to stir up any issues. In fact, as early as 1996, the cultivation environment had already begun to deteriorate. Specifically: 1) Guangming Daily published articles that defamed Falun Gong. 2) the Central CCP Propaganda Ministry forbade publishing books and audiovisual materials for Falun Gong--practitioners had no choice but to buy pirated copies. 3) In early 1997, Luo Gan instructed the Police Ministry to conduct nationwide investigations attempting to defame Falun Gong. 4) In May 1998, He Zuoxiu concocted the Beijing TV Station incident by defaming Falun Gong on the program, "Beijing Express." 5) In July 1998, the Police Ministry released one notice (1999-555) to charge Falun Gong prior to investigation. 6) On April 11, He Zuoxiu once again defamed Falun Gong by writing an article in a magazine published by Tianjiin Education College. 7) On April 23, Tianjin Police arrested several dozen practitioners who went to Tianjin Education College to clarify the facts.
As people who have lived in a society ruled by the CCP, we know all too well that all the propaganda and trumped up issues were in actuality just preparation prior for the onset of the massive suppression. The literary prostitutes used atheism to attack Falun Gong and defame it at any cost. Politicians stirred things up for their own political gains (Luo Gan was promoted and entered the Political Bureau after persecuting Falun Gong.) Jiang Zemin's jealousy and ego kept expanding his desire to recklessly eradicate Falun Gong. Whether or not the appeal had taken place on April 25, the persecution would have started anyway. In fact, the appeal by Falun Gong practitioners on April 25 was giving the CCP an opportunity to listen to their voices, with a hope of resolving any misunderstandings and restoring the privileges of China's citizens to be better people.
After the persecution started, the CCP tried hard to cover up the fact that some government agencies had planned for a long time to suppress Falun Gong. This was deliberately giving a false impression, as if Falun Gong suddenly had this "April 25 Incident." In fact, if they had been able to practice Falun Gong freely, then why did practitioners need to appeal at all?
Is there anything wrong with trying to be a better person? Is there anything wrong with cultivating Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance? There should be nothing wrong with this, in any society. However, under the CCP's rule, people are not allowed to be better people and they are not allowed to follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
April 24, 2009