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My Recollection of the April 25th Appeal

April 26, 2020 |   By Shanzhou

(Minghui.org) Growing up in China, I never knew a different way of life until I met a foreign lecturer in college. He made me realize that life was more than just making good grades, getting a degree, landing a good job, and striving to make more money. 

Inspiration from a Foreign Lecturer

While I was still a university student, a foreign lecturer got us engaged in a conversation on campus one day. Something he said struck me as a surprise. He told us that he believed in God. 

“Is there really a God?” I teased him. 

He smiled at me and said with certainty, “Yes, of course. God does exist.” 

I suddenly realized that he was on a different path from mine, and the thought I had earlier to make fun of him suddenly disappeared. I was speechless. 

No one had mentioned “God” and “divine” in the way our foreign lecturer did. To us Chinese people, the reason why foreigners believe in God was because they had a relatively good life, but felt rather empty spiritually, so they had to find something to fill their spiritual void. But the way the foreign lecturer mentioned “God” wasn't like that at all. 

Many of my peers at the university had developed a pretty decadent way of behaving – borrowing money to drink others under the table to boast their “drinking capacity,” skipping classes to play cards in their dorms, cheating on exams, etc. 

“Are we the new generation of young people, full of great ambitious ideals and assertions as propagated?” I began to have doubts. 

My Affinity with Falun Gong

Qigong became very popular in China during the 1980s and 1990s. I also took up practicing a variety of qigong forms for healing illnesses and keeping fit, and read many books on Buddhism and Taoism. 

One day, an associate professor recommended Falun Gong to me, as she was very interested in the practice. 

I watched the videos of Master Li Hongzhi teaching the Fa in Jinan toward the end of 1995, and felt that I was walking toward a path of faith, like the foreign lecturer mentioned.

I knew that a few other students were also practicing Falun Gong, even though we did not have much contact with each other. We were all trying to become good people, with good health and moral values. 

April 25th Appeal Helped Me See the CCP for What It Is

I was rather ignorant about the politics of the CCP, and how it used politics to suppress and attack faith and beliefs outside the boundary of its doctrines, until after April 25, 1999.

Researcher He Zuoxiu published an article in early April 1999, titled, “I Do Not Approve of Teenagers Practicing Qigong” in an official publication of the Tianjin Normal University Education College, in which he quoted a case that fraudulently criticized Falun Gong. In fact, the case had been brought up with Beijing TV earlier in 1998 and proven to be false. 

“What's wrong with this so-called scientist?” I thought to myself upon reading the title of the article, “How can he make such conclusions without supporting facts?”

I had personally seen the benefits many youngsters enjoyed from practicing Falun Gong. 

Some children used to tell lies and were very lazy in the past, but they all changed for the better after practicing Falun Gong. Some children who used to throw tantrums when they could not get what they wanted stopped behaving that way, after their parents told them about the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”

There was a 4-year-old boy, whose finger got caught in a door, and it turned black and blue. His mother told him to recite, “Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” He did, and his finger returned to normal very quickly. It was really miraculous!

In my own case, I used to suffer from severe bronchitis and intestinal track disease. Both illnesses disappeared after I started practicing Falun Gong.

After seeing He’s article, many Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin went to the Tianjin Education College to explain what Falun Gong was about, and hoped that they could make a correction. 

However, just as the editorial office was about to make an apology, riot police suddenly turned up on April 23 and 24, and unlawfully arrested 45 Falun Gong practitioners. Practitioners were told that the order came from the central government and they should appeal to the office of the State Council for a solution. 

The 10,000-people Appeal

I heard about what had happened in Tianjin from a fellow practitioner at our practice site, and we decided to go and appeal to the government on April 25. 

I went there on my own, on my bicycle, and saw a lot of people when I was about a kilometer away from Fuyou Street, where the State Council Appeal Office is located. 

They must have come from nearby areas in Hebei and Tianjin. There were men and women, young and old, and some women had babies in their arms. 

I left my bike in an alley and joined the crowd. It was around 9:00 a.m.

People lined up along the street in a very orderly manner, avoiding main traffic roads.

Over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to appeal in Beijing on April 25, 1999.

The atmosphere was peaceful and quiet throughout the day. Many practitioners stood there and read Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong.

There were also police officers nearby, looking on idly and chatting among themselves. They were very impressed by the Falun Gong practitioners’ peaceful integrity and self-restraint. Some were so touched that they started to learn more about Falun Gong and later began to practice. 

I met a fellow practitioner years later while being incarcerated in a forced labor camp. He was one of the police officers deployed to watch the practitioners that day.

In the evening, news came that the then prime minister had met with a few practitioner representatives and agreed to look into our appeals, and that the unlawfully arrested practitioners in Tianjin would be released. 

Upon hearing this, we started to leave in the same very peaceful and orderly manner as we came. Practitioners picked up every tiny piece of trash on the ground, including cigarette butts left behind by the police. 

Persecution Triggered by the Intolerant Nature of the CCP

I heard later that the monumental peaceful appeal shocked Jiang Zemin, then the CCP general secretary and head of state, as well as a few of his accomplices. 

They viewed Falun Gong’s teachings and the huge number of practitioners as a threat to their personal power and their control of people’s minds. The peaceful appeal was soon labeled as an “attack on the central government” in the CCP’s mouthpiece media, and used as an excuse to start a nationwide persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.

In spite of the fact that the prime minister at the time accepted Falun Gong practitioners’ appeal requests on April 25, and that there was a follow-up document from the office of the State Council, stating that the government had never banned any kind of keeping-fit exercises, the CCP nonetheless launched a brutal persecution of tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners across China three months later, which is still going on.

Countless families were broken up and a huge number of practitioners were subjected to unlawful arrests, detention, imprisonment, forced labor, torture, and even organ harvesting, etc. Many have died as a result of the persecution. 

The evilness of the CCP has now become more evident amid the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The malicious cover-up of the virus infection and the hoarding of essential protective equipment on a global scale when people desperately needed it at a most critical moment have awakened the international community to the CCP’s wickedness.

More and more governments have aligned together to hold the CCP accountable for the massive loss of lives and devastating economic damage. And more and more people are seeing the importance of distancing themselves from the CCP. 

Twenty one years have passed since the April 25th Appeal, but it still remains fresh in the memory of many practitioners. The peaceful spirit will never be forgotten. The kindness and purity it represents will forever shine throughout Heaven and earth.