Recalling the April 25 Peaceful Protest in Beijing in 1999
(Minghui.org) I participated in the peaceful protest on April 25, 1999, in Beijing. The reason that nearly 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went there to protest was that dozens of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin, a city about 60 miles east of Beijing, had been arrested and beaten by police.
I still vividly recall the scenes of that day. Large numbers of practitioners had come to the State Appeals Office to request the release of the Tianjin practitioners. The following are some accounts of what I experienced that day.
Practitioners Line Up Outside the State Appeals Office
I heard about Tianjin police arresting and beating Falun Gong practitioners on April 24. The Tianjin Government had indicated that only the upper level administration could resolve the issue.
On April 25, I went to the State Appeals Office in Beijing's Xi'anmen Street, after attending morning group practice and taking care of my child. I saw other practitioners who had arrived earlier standing on the west side of Fuyou Street. I stood on the southwest part of the intersection of Fuyou and Xi'anmen streets.
Xi'anmen Street had many vehicles and pedestrians that day. Falun Gong practitioners stood in two to three rows on the side of the street. The sidewalk was not blocked. Bicycles that might have blocked the roadside were rearranged. The traffic was orderly and smooth without congestion.
Xi'anmen Street had merchants, small shops and private houses. We avoided blocking the entrances and exits of the stores and houses. The cleanliness of the streets were maintained.
More practitioners from Beijing's suburbs and from other provinces continued to come. As more people joined, I moved slowly to the west side. I met a practitioner that I knew. We stood together. I later learned that most of the practitioners I knew had come and stood on Fuyou Street, Chang'an Street or Xi'anmen Street.
Word of Mouth Conveys the Messages
I heard that many practitioners had lined up, and the line was over one mile long. There were many police who took videos of practitioners. I decided to take a look and see what had happened.
I walked south on Fuyou street. I saw practitioners standing in three to four rows. I could not see the end of the lines. Many stood and read books. Police vehicles were parked on the street.
Police stood at the roadside and smoked. There were few pedestrians. I thought that if any situation occurred, practitioners who knew about it would tell everyone. I then returned to where I stood before.
Later, from the direction of Fuyou Street, fellow practitioners passed word one-by-one, asking: Is there a representative to talk with the government officials? Later, a message came again: some fellow practitioners had gone in. Then we just waited.
The sky was dark, and there was still no news. So I waited in the same place. Some more police cars came.
At 9 p.m., practitioners passed a message from the direction of Fuyou Street that the Prime Minister had come forward and Tianjin had released the practitioners who were being detained. The message allowed everyone to leave. But no one left right away. We waited until it was confirmed, then everyone started to leave.
I deliberately waited a while to see what I could do. I saw someone holding a plastic bag and picking up litter on ground. Soon, there was almost no one around. I also left by bike.
Falun Gong practitioners follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The April 25 peaceful protest was carried out peacefully. Out of jealousy, Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong, used the event to try to defame practitioners by portraying the peaceful protest as “besieging the Government Compound.” The brutal persecution is still going on today.