Worldwide Events Held to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the April 25 Appeal
(Minghui.org) This report covers events held by Falun Gong practitioners last week in the U.S., Russia, Japan, and Switzerland in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the peaceful appeal in Beijing on April 25, 1999.
Twenty years ago on April 25, 1999, the world was surprised when 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners quietly gathered in Beijing to request that the Chinese government release several unjustly arrested practitioners. They also asked for an end to the escalating government harassment of their practice and for the return of a free cultivation environment. After meeting with several representatives of the practitioners, the government agreed to all of the requests and the practitioners quietly dispersed. Just a few months later, however, then president Jiang Zemin launched the brutal repression and persecution of Falun Gong that has continued to this day.
Falun Gong practitioners from Philadelphia gathered in front of the Liberty Bell, a world-renowned icon of freedom.
Several practitioners shared their personal experiences of the April 25 appeal as well as the persecution and torture they were subjected to in China because they refused to give up their spiritual belief.
Many tourists stopped to learn about the events on that historic day and encouraged practitioners to continue letting people know about what is happening in China.
Zoe from Iowa was amazed by the scene of so many people peacefully meditating. She said, “They all look so peaceful. My mother pointed out that people from all different ages are here, old and young.” Zoe and her mother asked several questions about the persecution and were shocked to learn the details. “This must end now,” Zoe said. “Every one should have freedom of belief.” She said she wished to know more about Falun Gong.
During the event at the Liberty Bell, more than 30 Chinese tourists quit the Chinese Communist Party.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Practitioners from St. Petersburg held a one-day single person protest relay in front of the Chinese consulate on Friday. Many passersby stopped to express their encouragement.
Throughout the last 17 years, practitioners have held various activities in front of the Chinese consulate, so local residents are familiar with Falun Gong and are supportive. Many people accepted flyers and condemned the Chinese regime's state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience.
The following day, practitioners held a group exercise demonstration at a public park. They shared with the public about the beauty of Falun Gong and how the ancient spiritual practice has spread around the world. Several passersby stopped to learn the exercises.
Kumamoto and Nagasaki, Japan
Practitioners from Kumamoto gathered in front of the Chinese consulates in Fukuoka and Nagasaki last Saturday. They peacefully protested the persecution, especially the forced organ harvesting in China. They called on the public to help bring Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party, to justice for initiating the persecution.
Practitioners displayed banners and signs that read “Falun Dafa is good,” “Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the April 25 Appeal” and “Stop the persecution of Falun Gong.” The banners drew people's attention, with many stopping to find out more about the practice and the persecution.
After the protest in front the Chinese consulate, practitioners collected signatures in downtown Fukuoka on a petition to support the lawsuits filed by more than 200 thousand practitioners around the world against Jiang Zemin.
Practitioners from Bern handed out flyers, gave speeches, demonstrated the exercises, and collected signatures on Kornhaus Square last Saturday.
After she learned why the event was being held, Sabrina, a survey technician, signed the petition. She believes that the persecution of Falun Gong is a global disaster similar to World War II. She said, “This kind of persecution against a righteous group should not happen in today's society. It is so sad. Such a peaceful practice is being persecuted by the Chinese regime, but here in Switzerland we never hear about it. How can we ignore it? This is really bad.”
She continued, "I hope that the petition can help end this tragedy, which is against all people's basic human rights. Especially the organ harvesting, which completely destroys human nature. It turns living people into organ warehouses.”
She added, “We have to do something. We can’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to it!”
A fitness instructor and her family signed the petition to show their support. She said, "Everyone has the right to meditate. No one should limit anyone's freedom of belief. The persecution is a restriction of people's spiritual freedom. I hope to stop the forced organ harvesting, and people should pay more attention to it. Let people, especially the Chinese people, have spiritual freedom.”
She believes that Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance comprise the universal principle and said that her family has always followed it. She asked for information about the local practice site and said she planned to stop by to learn the exercises.