(Minghui.org) On April 25, 1999, I was fortunate to participate in the appeal at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s central compound. Although 22 years have passed, I still recall that day vividly.
I have remembered the event on every anniversary, whether I was held in a detention center, forced labor camp, or prison, or I was forced to wander around to avoid further persecution. The more time that passes, the more I feel the significance of this event. It is a great testament to practitioners' upright morality. Now when we look back, the April 25 appeal perfectly showcases the beauty of Falun Dafa. It was a glorious and eternal monument alongside China's 5,000 years of history.
A group of ten practitioners usually met in my home to study the Falun Dafa books together. On the evening of April 24, 1999, when we gathered as usual, the local Falun Dafa assistant informed us that a few practitioners were arrested in Tianjin City. He said that some practitioners planned to go to Zhongnanhai to appeal to the central government.
When my wife, who is also a practitioner, and I heard this news, we decided to go to speak up for Dafa. That day happened to be Sunday. Through something I experienced the previous year, I saw practitioners’ kindness and purity, which I felt was truly a manifestation of Dafa's principles, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
That night, before we traveled to Beijing, we read Master’s new articles, such as “Digging Out the Roots” and “For Whom do You Exist?” Each practitioner decided whether he or she should go to appeal to the government the next day, based on their own situations.
My home was 12 miles from Zhongnanhai. To make sure we arrived, my wife and I decided not to take public transit—instead we rode our bicycles. We set out at 3:30 a.m. and rode into Beijing at dawn. We stopped and had a very simple breakfast, and then we headed towards Zhongnanhai. When we arrived at the north entrance of Fuyou Street, we saw some practitioners from out of town who had traveled there overnight. They came very early and had to ask for directions.
There was a police station nearby, but no officers checked on us. Since Zhongnanhai is so important, they should have asked why we were there. If the police stopped us, we wouldn’t have been able to get so close to the central government compound.
We later learned that some people had conspired and set up a plot. They thought practitioners would behave badly and cause trouble. The CCP could then use it as an excuse to crack down on Falun Dafa. However, they completely did not expect practitioners’ calm and upright behavior. As more practitioners arrived and we became a big crowd, police officers guided us to move ahead. We came from the north entrance of Fuyou Street and walked on the sidewalk to the west side and headed south. When we met with the group of practitioners from the south, we stopped right between the north and south entrances. We faced the big west gate of Zhongnanhai (the north side had a small entrance).
We were orderly and quiet. The middle of the sidewalk was a blind alley. We stood behind the alley, leaving two thirds of the road open for passersby. We didn’t affect the flow of traffic. At the beginning, buses still ran on the road. When police officers later blocked both sides of the road, the buses had to stop.
We felt we were not there to hold a demonstration, but rather to reflect on the situation. When people were too tired to stand or needed to eat something, they’d go to the back and sit down.
Everyone stood there quietly for the entire day. There were three practitioners beside me, and their behavior truly touched me: One was a young mother, whose baby was only a few months old. She was still breastfeeding. But in order to safeguard Dafa and have more people have the opportunity to learn that Falun Dafa is good, she stood with everyone else the entire day.
A young couple were from Southern China and happened to be in Beijing for an unrelated reason. When they heard about the incident in Tianjin, even though his wife was over seven months pregnant, she managed to stand there all day. It was truly moving!
Falun Dafa only brings benefits to people and their nations and does not cause any harm—all us practitioners truly experienced this. This is why so many people chose to appeal to the government. After the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, we Chinese knew the CCP was evil and vicious. It dares to do anything when it comes to persecuting people. Despite the brutal persecution over the past 22 years, practitioners have held on to their selflessness and great compassion.
We knew that the practitioners who had been arrested in Tianjin were also great people. We thought the government should support, encourage and promote them. Instead, it arrested them and used the state media to slander practitioners. These were all serious violations of the law and the constitution.
Then premier Zhu Rongji is very tall. He didn’t bring any security guards with him and walked out of Zhongnanhai's front entrance alone. This kind of candor was amazing and contrasted sharply with then CCP leader Jiang Zemin. Zhu knew Falun Dafa very well and knew that practitioners were trustworthy.
Zhu crossed the road, walked towards the line of practitioners, and spoke to a few of them. He said he had approved of Dafa, but practitioners said they were not aware. He also said because he had meetings with foreign guests, he’d arrange some people to meet with us. Then, he asked a few of our representatives to go inside Zhongnanhai. A few practitioners volunteered. After they came out, a few others went in.
Some police cars came in the morning. Several police officers got out and stood ten meters apart. Initially they appeared nervous–perhaps their supervisors had told them something. After a while, they relaxed. With so many practitioners quietly reading the Dafa books there, the atmosphere was calm and peaceful.
We felt the police also came to safeguard Dafa, and that the scene was sacred and pure. We felt it was those officers' good fortune to be there! Police normally deal with bad people, but practitioners had no hint of aggression or danger, only a sense of peace and tranquility. Some practitioners talked with the police, so they understood why we felt compelled to be there. Back then, most people in China knew about Falun Dafa and had a high opinion of it, including government officials.
As the hours passed, the police officers became so relaxed that some of them went back to their vehicles to have a nap. They no longer stood at attention; instead they chatted with each other and began to smoke. They tossed cigarette butts everywhere, which was their habit. In comparison, practitioners stood upright the entire day without leaning against anything. Thinking back, I didn’t feel tired at all. Instead I felt relaxed. I felt this was because of strengthening by Master, as well as the foundation we had built up through the Dafa exercises. Our hearts were also pure.
The next day during our Fa study, an elderly practitioner mentioned that her daughter was a police officer. She happened to be on duty there and told her mom what she saw. She told her colleagues, “Look at how those Falun Dafa folks behave. You should learn from them!” The other officers agreed. Later I heard from more than one person that police officers who were there, as well as passersby on the buses, all praised the orderly scene and practitioners’ upright character.
The Beijing municipal government repeatedly made broadcasts, telling practitioners to leave. They also distributed printed copies. But none of us took them. We felt we were only there to report an injustice to the government. We were open and honest and did not break any laws. We all knew arresting innocent people was against the law and had to be stopped. The issue hadn’t been resolved, so how could we leave?
In the afternoon, a few cars slowly drove by with video cameras sticking out of the windows. We knew they were filming us. Just like everyone else, I stood up straight and faced the cameras in an upright manner. We knew we had not broken any laws. We were prepared and knew that the CCP would go after us, since this is what they usually did. However, we had no trace of fear. We were practitioners and truly knew the beauty of Dafa—we only hoped more people would have the chance to embrace it as well.
Some reporters from other countries came, but government staff tried to drive them away. When they tried to hide among us, we asked them not to do that. Later, some unidentified people wanted to mix in with us. But we noticed them and they left. We knew it was a CCP tactic to cause chaos so they could find excuses to persecute us. Wasn’t that what they did during the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989? But it’s really hard for bad people and outsiders to infiltrate Dafa disciples, as our compassion, kindness, peacefulness and purity were achieved through our persistence in true cultivation.
Most of us didn’t bring any food. After we stood all day, we took turns buying food at night. The street vendors quickly sold out. When practitioners bought vegetables, they didn’t pick or choose. Seeing such a kind group of people, some vendors were touched. They rinsed their tomatoes and cucumbers for us. I went to use the big public washroom. With so many people using it, it was still very clean. After a large group of practitioners left, practitioners who lived nearby brought their own supplies to clean up before they left for home.
For a while, many people looked up into the sky. I couldn’t see anything, but my wife said she saw many Falun in the sky and that the sight was spectacular. Later I heard many gods in the heavens were waiting for Master’s arrival to rectify the Fa in a solemn manner, but more practitioners needed to join the event that day.
Back then, it was hard to know how the situation would unfold. We only thought that we shouldn’t leave until it was resolved. Since the next day was a Monday, I was prepared to call my supervisor to request a day off.
After 9 p.m., our representatives came out. I saw Mr. Li Chang, a member of the Falun Dafa Research Association, talking to practitioners in front of the entrance. I later heard the central government promised to release the practitioners arrested in Tianjin, so we were asked to leave. We waited until we got confirmation from some practitioners we knew.
The government must have also dispatched many buses, as people left the appeal location really quickly. Practitioners who lived nearby were the last ones to leave. They finished cleaning up the roads and public washrooms. Some reminded local practitioners to help those from out of town find places to stay. Practitioners are truly like one family!
My wife and I headed back feeling fortunate and relaxed. I felt Master gave me so much because I participated. It felt like a huge transformation that was hard to describe. We returned home at 1:30 a.m. My mother, who is also a practitioner, hadn’t gone to bed and waited for us. She warmed up leftover dinner for us. Even though she didn’t go to the appeal, her heart was still with us.
Mr. Li Chang was formerly a divisional cadre of the Ministry of Public Security. As a result of the April 25 appeal, he was illegally sentenced to 18 years in prison, which was among the longest terms received by practitioners. Even though he is in his 70s, he is still held under close surveillance in Qianjin Prison in Chadian City.
I found Mr. Li to be a very respectable and upright man. The first time I heard about him was in the Guangming Daily incident. He wrote to the newspaper to defend Dafa against slander. He signed his name and included where he worked, which was truly admirable.
I once stayed in the same prison cell as Mr. Li. On the anniversary of April 25 that year, I went to him and said from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you!”
Two decades later, we can better see the special significance of that day and the elevated demeanor of Falun Dafa practitioners.
I joined the CCP’s National Day parade in 1984. We gathered at Zhengyi Road, where there were large numbers of people, including workers, students, and Party members. The public washrooms became extremely filthy. When the parade was over and people left, all sorts of garbage littered the streets—it was disgusting. The same thing happened in CCP flag-raising activities at Tiananmen Square—those “patriots” left so much garbage behind.
After I read the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and Disintegrating Party Culture and watched Shen Yun and some other things related to traditional Chinese culture, I understood that people who have faith in their hearts can better restrain themselves.
Dafa practitioners' behavior during the April 25 appeal showed their civility, order, kindness, peacefulness, and wish to maintain a clean environment. This is how human beings should behave—it’s the state of a normal, civilized society.
The CCP's atheism, revolutionary theory of violent terror, and philosophy of struggle turned Chinese people against their conscience. They lost their respect for human life and only know how to kill and fight. To them, this behavior is normal. The evil Party only knows how to cultivate hooligans, thugs and cynics, so its leaders think this disgusting behavior is normal.
To the CCP, such an orderly, civil appeal was abnormal. Because the CCP uses violence, terror, threats and deception to maintain its rule, it feels it must tightly control people in order to maintain its rule. When we look at practitioners' behavior on April 25, isn’t it easy to see the evil and poisonous nature of the CCP?
My niece’s birthday happens to fall on April 25. Before 1999, we got together every year to celebrate her birthday. In 1999, since I left early in the morning and came home very late, I didn’t get a chance to celebrate her birthday with her. I thought there would be many more opportunities, but the persecution of Falun Dafa began on July 20.
A year later, on April 25, 2000, I went to Tiananmen Square to appeal and was held in a detention center. I was taken to a forced labor camp in 2001. In both 2002 and 2003, I was on the CCP's wanted list. I was forced to leave home and wander around. In 2004, I was illegally sentenced. Nine years passed, and I still couldn’t celebrate her birthday with her. But no matter where I was, I sent my wishes to her in my heart. On this special day, I’d like to send my best wishes to the whole world!
Back then, every April 25, I always hoped that the persecution would end soon. I hoped that every practitioner could reunite with their family and everyone would have the freedom to practice Dafa. Every April 25 when I was away from home, I always thought: My niece was the most fortunate, as her birthday happened to be such a great day! If our little sacrifices could be exchanged for a brighter future for the world, it’s worth it!
In 2021, when I recall the April 25 appeal, I know that practitioners set a shining example for China. After 5,000 years of glorious civilization, China was usurped by a gang of bandits.
If we could go back to April 25, 1999, and the Chinese people openly chose to support and respect Falun Dafa, how wonderful the Chinese nation would be today, and how wonderful the world would be today! Unfortunately, the CCP chose to persecute Dafa, sealing its own fate. Former CCP leader Jiang Zemin chose to persecute Dafa, so he will be brought to trial and receive divine punishment. Heaven will eliminate the CCP.
How many people have passively chosen to participate in the persecution, to different degrees, to protect themselves? In contrast, the millions of Chinese people who have signed or gave their fingerprints in support of Falun Dafa against the persecution have made a different choice. The 375 million Chinese who have withdrawn their memberships in the evil Party have made a choice.
Looking back at the April 25 appeal, I pay tribute to our compassionate and great Master. I pay my respects to the Dafa disciples who gave up everything to awaken the world’s conscience, the Chinese who are courageous enough to abandon the CCP, and the kind people around the world who support Dafa!
Looking back at the April 25 appeal, I hope my friends will remember: Falun Dafa is good, and Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.
The peaceful appeal on April 25, 1999, is a monument that will last forever and shine brightly.