(Minghui.org) It’s been 19 years since over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners peacefully protested at China’s central government complex, asking the authorities to release their fellow practitioners and allow them to practice their belief unhindered. What has the world seen of Falun Gong since then?

First, Peaceful and Compassionate

First, Falun Gong practitioners are kind, peaceful, and rational. The media, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), accused the practitioners of surrounding and attacking the central government.

The practitioners did neither. They simply exercised their constitutional right to express their opinion to the government officials. The process was peaceful, and no one was loud, blocked traffic, or disrupted the nearby residents. Before the practitioners left, they picked up all the litter on the ground, including that of passersby.

The CCP claimed the peaceful appeal “caused a disturbance.” In fact, the regime itself caused trouble by arresting and beating 45 Falun Gong practitioners who were doing the exercises in public, which motivated the protest.

The authorities refused to release the practitioners, and this compelled the practitioners to speak up. Before the arrests, the CCP issued articles attacking the practitioners through its media mouthpieces and instructed public security officers to harass the practitioners who did the exercises outdoors, as if they were already guilty before anything was investigated.

The Propaganda Department then banned the publication of Falun Gong books without going through any legal procedure. In the face of these accusations and harassment, the practitioners felt that it was time to communicate with the government and demand their basic constitutional right to freedom of belief. At the protest, they asked the government to release the 45 practitioners, to allow the books to be published, and to ensure a free environment in which to practice.

On April 25, 1999, the day of the peaceful appeal, then premier Zhu Rongji properly settled the issue with the practitioners.

Unfortunately, Jiang Zemin, the leader at the time, established the 610 Office, an extra-legal Party organization that now oversees the persecution of Falun Gong. Then, on July 20, 1999, Jiang launched a nationwide, systemic persecution of Falun Gong.

Over the past 19 years, Chinese authorities have relentlessly tortured practitioners who refused to give up their faith in prisons, forced labor camps, and brainwashing centers. At least 4213 practitioners who died from torture have been documented, keeping in mind how little information has been able to make it out through China’s internet firewall.

However, over the past 19 years there has not been one incidence of a practitioner taking revenge using violence. On the contrary, practitioners believe that the police who participate in the persecution are merely victims of the CCP propaganda. Practitioners have never stopped telling the police what Falun Gong is and the truth about the persecution, because they do not want them to commit crimes that hurt good people.

The CCP media have claimed that over 1400 practitioners have been involved in extreme erratic incidents, including the Tiananmen Square self-immolation. These have all proven to be lies.

Second, Unwavering Faith

Second, practitioners have not wavered in their firm belief in the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. No forms of torture used in the prisons, forced labor camps, and brainwashing centers have been able to change their hearts of compassion.

Year after year practitioners continue to tell the public why the persecution is wrong and ask people to help stop it. In the history of the CCP’s political movements, no group was able to survive when the Party singled it out for persecution. Except for Falun Gong.

Over the past 19 years the practice has spread around the world, and more and more people have chosen to become practitioners. No dictatorship and no amount of violence or lies can change the practitioners’ belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Third, No Political Agenda

Lastly, Falun Gong practitioners have shown time and time again that they are not politically motivated. They have no intention of getting involved in politics. In Taiwan and Western democratic countries, practitioners do not become pre-occupied with political parties or elections. They often participate in local community events to introduce the practice to the public and are often honored by local governments and communities. This is how the practice operates in normal countries.

When the Chinese communist regime chose to persecute and slander Falun Gong, practitioners took on the responsibility of telling people why the regime is doing what it does in order to keep people from being misled.

Practitioners lay out the Chinese regime's crimes and help people quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. They are not involved in China’s politics; they are just helping people get out of it.

Practitioners hold no grudge toward the CCP, but they risk their safety to tell people to quit in order to help them out.

Although China claims that the forced labor camp system has been abolished, the 610 Office is still influencing the police and judicial systems to persecute practitioners. According to Minghui, 1294 practitioners were sentenced to prison terms for refusing to give up their faith in 2016 and 974 in 2017.

From January to March of this year, 194 practitioners have already been sentenced. The Chinese regime disregards its own Constitution and violates its citizens’ basic rights. All Chinese citizens are victims of this 19-year-long tragedy.