(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners from the greater Philadelphia area held activities at the Liberty Bell Center at Independence National Historical Park on April 17, 2021, to commemorate a historic, peaceful protest. Twenty-two years ago on April 25, 1999, over ten thousand Falun Dafa practitioners traveled from all parts of China and gathered near the central government complex in Beijing. The purpose of the gathering was to petition the regime to grant their non-political practice legal status and to stop harassing Dafa practitioners. Despite the large numbers of practitioners, it was a peaceful and orderly appeal. Yet, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) claimed that they were rioting against the central government and used the peaceful gathering as a pretext to launch the persecution of Falun Dafa. The brutal persecution continues to this day.

Practitioners from the greater Philadelphia area gather at the Liberty Bell Center at Independence National Historical Park to commemorate the peaceful protest that took place in Beijing 22 years ago on April 25, 1999. 

A passerby (front right, in blue) learns the exercises. 

Practitioners explain why the Chinese communist regime persecutes Falun Dafa. 

Practitioners demonstrated the exercises, held a rally, displayed posters with information about Falun Dafa and the persecution, and handed out fliers to visitors in the park. The practitioners informed the public about the ongoing persecution in China and asked people to sign a petition calling for its end. 

Several practitioners who took part in the April 25 event in Beijing 22 years ago talked about their experience. 

The Noble and Courageous Side of Falun Gong Practitioners 

Huang Kui was a student at Tsinghua University in Beijing when the April 25 appeal was held. He’d met with a classmate the night before and learned that the police in Tianjin had beaten and arrested local practitioners. “I was shocked and decided to visit the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration the next day, because Tianjin is a municipality under the central government. 

“I was worried before I went, knowing the tyrannical nature of the regime and the horror of the June 4th massacre. I wasn’t sure if the authorities would crack down on us or shoot us,” Huang said. “But out of a sense of responsibility, I knew that I should stand up and speak up for Falun Dafa and fellow practitioners.” 

Huang has vivid memories of that day. “Our bus arrived at the Zhongnanhai complex [the central government complex, which is near the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration office] the morning of April 25 and many practitioners were already quietly standing along the streets. It was very peaceful. The whole day went by peacefully without violence or anyone shouting. Around 9 p.m., we heard that the practitioners in Tianjin had been released, so we left after we cleaned up all the trash on the ground.

“The peaceful protest on April 25 pushed Falun Gong to the world stage,” Huang said. “This was the largest peaceful protest after the regime came to power. It demonstrated practitioners' noble attitude and courage and set an example for how people can communicate with a tyrannical regime peacefully.” 

Showing the World that Falun Dafa Is Good 

Wang Lanlan started to practice Falun Gong in March 1998 while she attended Tsinghua University. “It was a wonderful time. We read the teachings and did the exercises together on campus,” she said. She’d heard from fellow practitioners on April 24 that they planned to go to the National Complaints Administration the next day, and she decided to go with them. 

“The next day I went with a classmate on a bus and arrived at the Complaints Administration around 9 a.m. There were already many practitioners there. It was very pleasant and the first time that I saw that many practitioners together. Everyone quietly stood there and waited for the government’s decision.” 

Over 10,000 people protested peacefully from the beginning to the end of the event. “It is an unbelievable miracle in China, under the rule of the Chinese communist regime! It showed China and the world how wonderful Falun Dafa is and it impressed the world,” she said. 

A Combination of Justice, Kindness, Faith, and Courage 

Gong Qinhua was a Chinese medicine doctor who lived in Beijing. His entire family participated in the protest that day. “It was a day like every other day—it couldn’t be more ordinary,” he remembered. “I didn’t realize that day would be so historically significant.” 

“Over 10 thousand practitioners gathered to speak up for Dafa. They were in fact telling the world what Falun Gong is. They didn’t protest for their own sake. A practitioner wouldn’t care if he was defamed, because it would not affect his practice in any way. That many practitioners came to tell the world’s people that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good and shouldn’t be persecuted or banned. The protest was practitioners safeguarding the practice and a combination of justice, kindness, faith, and courage.” 

Practitioners Did Nothing Wrong 

Ke Yi was only nine years old when he went to Beijing in April 1999. “It was a special day for me,” he said. “My family lived quite far away and did not get to Beijing until April 26. The police brought us to a small alley. I was terrified and started crying. The moment I would always remember was when a practitioner held my hand and said, ‘We did nothing wrong. Don’t cry, son!’ I'm now an adult. After 22 years of persecution, I always remember this phrase. I did nothing wrong. I’ve followed Falun Dafa's principles all my life and want to tell everyone that Falun Dafa is good.” 

Practitioners Outside of China Condemn the Persecution

Terri Morse does the exercises. 

Terri Morse is a flight instructor. She had only practiced Falun Dafa for 3 months when the appeal took place. “Over 10 thousand practitioners protested in April 1999. Twenty-two years later, today they are still calling to stop the persecution. The principles they follow, Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, will never be taken away from them. I hope everyone can make an effort to understand their belief. Once people know about the persecution, they will have a sense of justice. I believe that the persecution will end soon because kindness wins.” 

Santosh Krishnamurthy believes that the April 25 appeal shows practitioners’ courage and fearlessness. 

Santosh Krishnamurthy is a senior computer engineer from India. “The appeal showed the practitioners’ courage after their freedom of belief was taken away. When the Chinese regime prohibited them from practicing, the practitioners continued to protest peacefully and communicate with the government. This signifies their courage and fearlessness to safeguard the truth and their belief.” 

Computer engineer Alex Luchansky addressed the rally: “We stand here before the Liberty Bell, in the birthplace of freedom, the most important place in America. The stele next to me is engraved with the First Amendment, which guarantees our freedom of religion, speech and press. No government or institution can ban or take them away. 

“It is symbolic. We enjoy freedom in the United States and we voice for freedom here, but in China the Falun Gong practitioners are banned from their practice. I want to say that everyone in the world should have this freedom, not just in the US but in China also. The Chinese regime should respect the God-given belief and value. 

“We hope the message we deliver here today will be spread from the Liberty Bell all the way to China.” 

Public Support for Falun Dafa 

The practitioners’ activities drew the attention of many visitors. Several signed the petition to support Falun Dafa and demand an end to the persecution.

Dustin Sellers, a software engineer from Ohio, said this was the first time he’d heard about Falun Dafa. He does Yoga and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere he felt as practitioners did the exercises. “Any persecution is wrong. It's a shame that it still exists. To make it worse, the Chinese regime blocks the information from coming out. People should be able to practice freely and have the right to freedom of belief.” 

Jonathan, a teacher from New York, said he knew that the Chinese regime persecuted many ethnic minorities. “It makes me sad when I hear that Falun Dafa is persecuted. Exposing the persecution is important in stopping it. The international community should investigate and stop this persecution, especially the atrocity of organ harvesting from living practitioners incarcerated for upholding their faith.” 

Jamie Yates, a postal worker from Virginia, said, “People in China are kidnapped and their organs are stolen and sold to those who can afford it. This is terrifying because when it could happen there, it could happen anywhere.” 

Jamie’s 16-year-old daughter Darcy Yates said that the persecution was horrible. “I don’t think the Chinese regime should be allowed to persecute people because of what they believe. People are killed just for meditating – this is insane and unbelievable.”

Chinese version available

Category: April 25 Events