(Minghui.org) Over 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners went to Beijing on April 25, 1999, to appeal for the release of fellow practitioners arrested in Tianjin 22 years ago. They also asked for a peaceful environment to practice their faith and permission to publish Falun Dafa books without interference. This event came to be the largest, most peaceful appeal in Chinese history.

To commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the historic appeal, a petition drive to collect signatures globally to call for the prosecution of Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong, released new data on April 23: over 3.86 million people from 37 countries have signed the petition calling for Jiang to be brought to justice.

CCP’s Crimes Will Not Be Forgotten

Taiwan legislator Chang Hong-lu stated that since practitioners began their efforts to counteract the persecution of Falun Dafa in 1999, the entire world has become aware of the CCP’s crimes and the regime’s nature.

Chang said practitioners’ steadfast efforts despite the persecution deserves the world’s respect. “History will record the sacrifice made by every practitioner who lost their life due to the persecution,” he said. “Jiang Zemin’s brutal persecution of Falun Dafa will not be forgotten. The CCP’s crimes must be exposed.”

Joint Signature Campaign Helps People Understand the CCP’s Nature

Legislator Lin Chun-hsian said the joint signature campaign has been recognized by more and more people around the world and will influence governments of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries.

“The more the CCP regime bullies people, the less fearful they are of it, and the more united they are against it,” Lin said. “Some governments now realize that CCP officials have committed crimes that violate human rights. They have imposed sanctions on the perpetrators.

“More and more countries are reaching a consensus that the CCP is endangering world peace. We will never allow a cruel dictatorship, the CCP regime, to exist in the 21st century.”

More Sanctions Against the CCP

Professor Yan Chian-fa, a China expert, said he supports the joint signature effort and that everyone should treat the perpetrators of the persecution as war criminals.

“Sanctions can’t be done inside China but can be done outside China. The international community must reach a consensus and even form common mechanisms to deal with them, including freezing assets or denying travel through their countries,” he said.

Yan said the signature petition is necessary to awaken the world’s conscience. He stressed that the international community should take action and impose sanctions on the CCP, not just criticize it. Democracies such as the United States, Europe and Taiwan should design mechanisms or laws to punish and sanction those who commit these crimes, he suggested.

Safeguarding Freedom of Belief

Wu Fu-bin, chairman of a Taiwanese non-governmental organization (NGO) and a commentator on current affairs, said the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners has infuriated people.

“If a government cares only about power and persecutes religions, it will surely fail. Religion is very important to people. Each of us needs to have religious beliefs in order to live in confidence, happiness and satisfaction.”

Wu said that before the persecution began, Falun Dafa was respected and practiced by many people in China. “Falun Dafa’s promotion of morality is something we respect very much. This is one of the directions our NGO is advocating,” he said.

“Of course we have to support Falun Dafa, and we hope more people will support it. Everyone has different beliefs, but regarding practitioners’ efforts against the CCP’s persecution, people all over the world stand on their side,” Wu said.

Background on the April 25 Appeal

On April 23 and 24, 1999, police in Tianjin, a city near Beijing, assaulted and arrested dozens of Falun Dafa practitioners who gathered outside a magazine office to discuss errors in a recently-published article attacking the spiritual practice. As word spread of the arrests and more practitioners contacted officials, they were told they had to take their appeals to Beijing.

The following day, April 25, some 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners spontaneously gathered at the central appeals office in Beijing, as they had been instructed by Tianjin officials. The gathering was peaceful and orderly. Several Falun Gong representatives were called in to meet with Premier Zhu Rongji and members of his staff. That evening, the concerns of Falun Gong practitioners were met, the arrested practitioners in Tianjin were released, and everyone went home.

Chinese version available

Category: Voices of Support Worldwide