(Minghui.org) To mark the 24th anniversary of April 25 peaceful appeal, Falun Dafa practitioners from Irkutsk and Angarsk, Russia, held activities on Labor Square in the center of Irkutsk on Sunday, April 23, 2023. They did the exercises and told people about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution. 

Practitioners hold activities on Labor Square in the center of Irkutsk on Sunday, April 23, 2023. 

The peaceful music and graceful exercise movements attracted people’s attention. Practitioners distributed flyers introducing Falun Dafa and exposing the CCP’s brutal persecution. They also collected signatures on a petition calling to end the persecution. 

People stop to view the display boards.

Many people passing by the square stopped and watched as practitioners did the exercises, and read the display boards. An elderly man couldn’t understand why these peaceful people were being persecuted. But when he learned that this was the CCP, he said, “Now I understand.” He then signed the petition.

After receiving the flyers, people were incredulous that the CCP persecuted such good people. Many people carefully read the information on the display boards, and signed the petition. Some thanked the practitioners for their efforts. 

Passers-by sign the petition calling to end the persecution. 

Background: What Is the April 25 Appeal?

Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries worldwide. Millions of people have embraced the teachings—which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance as well as five gentle exercises—and experienced improved health and well-being.

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

The following day, April 25, some 10,000 Falun Dafa 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 Dafa representatives were called in to meet with Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji, and members of his staff. That evening, practitioners’ concerns were answered. The arrested practitioners in Tianjin were released and everyone went home.

Jiang Zemin, former head of the CCP, perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology and issued an order to ban Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999.

Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners due to the persecution over the years; the actual number is suspected to be much higher. More have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.

There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply the organ transplant industry.