A Monument to Morality: The April 25 Peaceful Appeal
(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, about 10,000 Chinese Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the National Office of Letters and Appeals on Fuyou Street, near the Zhongnanhai central government compound in Beijing. Carrying no banners and shouting no slogans, they stood quietly and patiently, for hours, waiting for a representative from the government to meet with them.
The world was immediately aware of the size of the appeal and the self-discipline and high moral standard displayed by the Falun Gong practitioners. However, then leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin, called the appeal an “attack on the government,” and used it as an excuse to order a nationwide crackdown on Falun Gong.
The persecution directly opposes Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, common values acknowledged throughout the world. By opposing these principles, the CCP destroyed the conscience and moral standard of modern China. Today, China has become a land of no social morality, no trust, and no conscience, but which instead indulges in pornography, gambling, and drug abuse.
Luo Gan, then secretary of the Central Political and Law Commission, was about to retire, but instead he desired more power. He was certain that he had to do something noticeable and valuable to keep his post and the power that comes with it.
Since Falun Gong was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in May 1992, the spiritual practice and the exercises soon increased in popularity throughout the nation. Within 7 years, about 100 million Chinese people were doing the exercises and studying the teachings of Falun Gong.
Jiang Zemin was worried about the appeal of Falun Gong and deemed it a threat to the Party’s ruling.
In April 1999, a magazine out of Tianjin City Normal College published an article defaming Falun Gong. The author was He Zuoxiu, the brother-in-law of Luo Gan.
He Zuoxiu, a member of the National Institute of Science (NIS), was a notorious bogus “scientist” and was not truly educated. His greatest academic achievements were to flatter the political leaders for his personal interest. On one occasion, at a forum about quantum physics organized by the NIS, he gave a speech asserting how the development of quantum physics conformed to the political inventions (the "three represents") of the Party general secretary.
Several scholars were so ashamed at his flagrant brown-nosing that they immediately left the forum.
After Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin City read the article about their practice, some of them met with the editor of the magazine to discuss the misinformation. But before the press could announce a correction, the higher authorities intervened. The Tianjin City police arrested more than 40 Falun Gong practitioners on April 23 and 24.
When more Falun Gong practitioners appealed to the Tianjin city government for the release of the arrested practitioners, they were told, “The order was given by Beijing. You have to go to Beijing to solve the problem.”
A Second Trap
About 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners from Tianjin and surrounding cities and provinces arrived at the National Office of Letters and Appeals on April 25. More than 100 policemen were present upon the arrival of the practitioners.
The national appeals office is to the west of the Zhongnanhai government compound. Had the police guided people to the west of the appeals office, they would not have been near Zhongnanhai. However, the police directed the practitioners to wait and form a line to the east, deliberately forming a human chain around the Zhongnanhai compound.
The practitioners didn’t realize that it was a trap. They came to the office with three simple requests – to call for the release of the wrongly-arrested practitioners in Tianjin City, for permission to practice Falun Gong freely, and for permission to publish Falun Gong books (the publication of which had been recently banned).
Courageous and Righteous Practitioners
At first, the policemen were tense, with so many practitioners. However, they became more and more relaxed after they saw their peaceful demeanor and their kind and thoughtful actions.
The middle of the sidewalk is a brick-paved path for blind people. The practitioners stood next to that path, occupying about one-third of the sidewalk so that the majority of the sidewalk remained available to pedestrians. At each crossroad, a few practitioners volunteered to keep order and help maintain the free flow of traffic.
The front line of practitioners stood quietly from morning to evening. Those who were tired or who needed to stop and eat moved to the back to sit on the pavement. Among them, there was a young mother and her months-old baby from Beijing, and a young couple from a southern province who happened to be on a business trip in Beijing. The wife was about seven months pregnant.
Risk of Retaliation
Only 10 years before that event, the CCP sent tanks into Tiananmen Square and fired machine guns at thousands of students and other citizens calling for democracy.
The practitioners knew the risk of their gathering, as the CCP always retaliates against those who stand up against their tyranny. They were courageous to step up for social conscience. Their hope was that the Party would accept the common values of humankind.
Most of the practitioners hadn't brought any lunch. They took turns to buy food and ate in the afternoon. The street vendors were moved by their kindness and politeness. Many of them washed the tomatoes and cucumbers beforehand, so the vegetables could be eaten immediately.
There was only one large public restroom for so many people. But the practitioners kept the restroom very tidy throughout the day.
In the evening, when they learned that the central government had accepted their requests, they picked up all the trash in the streets, including the cigarette butts from the policemen.
Pointing to the tidy sidewalk, a policeman said to his colleagues, “Look! what is morality? This is morality!”
A Monument to Morality
The peacefulness and kindness of Falun Gong practitioners were noted worldwide. One scholar said that he saw hope for China when he saw that so many people could be so highly self-disciplined.
Shi Caidong, a PhD from the National Institute of Science who participated in the appeal, remarked, “The April 25 appeal was uneventful because it was the manifestation of the inner realm of Falun Gong practitioners. They followed the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It was also very eventful because people gained hope for morality returning to China.”
After the international media reported on the event, the world became aware of the merits of Falun Gong and many people started practicing it.
Since that time, Falun Gong has spread to more than 100 countries and regions, and more than 100 million people worldwide have benefited from the practice.
Continued Peaceful Resistance
In China, the persecution of Falun Gong has continued for the past 21 years, but Falun Gong practitioners have never stopped clarifying the truth to the people. They are truthful, compassionate, and they forebear. They want to awaken people’s conscience, let people know the truth, and persuade them to quit the Party, thus allowing everyone to embrace a bright future.
To avoid future catastrophes, people must be able to discern truth from falsehood, good from evil, and maintain a distance from the evil Party. A life that accepts the universal values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance will be blessed.