From Chicago to Houston, Peaceful Demonstrations in Front of Chinese Consulates Call to End the Persecution

April 28, 2016 | By Minghui correspondent Shu Jing

(Minghui.org) Seventeen years ago, the illegal arrest of 45 Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin led to a peaceful appeal in Beijing joined by about 10,000 practitioners. Three months later, Jiang Zemin launched the nationwide suppression that is still ongoing.

Practitioners from Chicago and Houston went to the Chinese consulate over the weekend, calling for an end to the persecution.

Chicago

With banners reading “Stop persecuting Falun Gong” and “Falun Dafa teaches Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance”, Chicago practitioners gathered by the street across from the Chinese Consulate at 5 p.m. on April 23.

Practitioners Ding Xiangyu and Andy Darin recalled the peaceful appeal 17 years ago. Yang Sen, coordinator of the Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, said the incident had historical significance. “The firm belief of Falun Gong practitioners, based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, is safeguarding the spirit and core values for both China and the entire human civilization.”

2016-4-usa-protest-1
Peaceful protest by Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago on April 23, 2016.

“We believe that truth will bring the defamatory propaganda to an end. And we believe more Chinese will act upon their conscience to support justice. By supporting Falun Gong practitioners, and by supporting the common good, they are walking towards a better future, for themselves and for the nation.”

Through the years, many young practitioners in China have suffered tremendously, just like adults. Sun Xinyu, a 23-year-old engineer working in Springfield, began to practice Falun Gong at the age of four. “Falun Gong taught me to be nice to others.” By knowing what is right and what is wrong, it was easy for him to stay away from bad habits and other temptations.

The harsh suppression was nonetheless a major challenge that Xinyu had to face every day when he was China. “Although Falun Gong taught us to be better people, the slanderous propaganda in China misled my classmates and teachers. They could not understand me and treated me badly.” Despite the huge pressure, Xinyu said he did not give up his belief.

2016-4-usa-protest-2
Sun Xinyu, 23, works as an engineer in Springfield

The event included a candlelight vigil at dusk. Many people learned about the persecution in China. Two Spanish tourists, Antonio and Christian, listened attentively as a practitioner explained to them what Falun Gong is and how practitioners have been mistreated in China for their belief.

“Thank you for telling us these things,” Christian said to the practitioner, “We’d never heard about it before. But this is very important.” He said that he would forward the pictures he took about event to El Mundo, the second largest newspaper in Spain.

Houston

Practitioners in Houston went to the Chinese consulate at 9 a.m. on April 25 to raise awareness of the suppression in China. Many passersby stopped to learn more, and some signed petitions to support the practitioners.

Two pedestrians in their 60s said that they had heard about the persecution before and were glad to help. Several drivers also stopped at the intersection to get information materials.

2016-4-usa-protest-3
Houston practitioners called for an end to the persecution in China.

Two men asked a practitioner to help them quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organizations. The older one thanked the practitioner, “Glad to talk with you today. Each of us has to follow his or her own conscience.”

2016-4-usa-protest-4
Passersby sign petitions to support the Falun Gong practitioners

Hard to Believe, an award-winning documentary on the forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, was screened at a meeting room of Southwest National Bank two days earlier.

After watching the film, one of audience, Mr. Li, said he was severely disturbed by the heinous crimes committed by the CCP. Another audience member, who used to work in China as a medical professional, said, “I believe what we have seen in the film. What we saw is hideous, but does happen in China.”

Chinese version available

Category: April 25 Events

New York City: Large Rally Commemorates Falun Gong Protest on April 25 in Beijing

April 27, 2016 | By Cai Ju

(Minghui.org) Nearly 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners joined a large rally following a march in Flushing, New York City on April 23. Both events commemorated a peaceful protest in Beijing on April 25, 1999, about three months before the communist regime launched its brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China.

With banners reading “Falun Dafa is Good,” “Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice,” and “Quit the CCP,” the event drew much attention from the public. Since last May, more than 200,000 criminal complaints have been filed with China’s highest court against the former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin for ordering the campaign against Falun Gong that has lasted 17 years.

Safeguarding Our Conscience

The rally began with a performance by the Divine Land Marching Band. Zhang Erping, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center, recalled the peaceful appeal of April 25, 1999.

“The peace and compassion of the event represent Falun Gong practitioners’ firm belief in the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. We are proud of what they did, because, by doing so, they are safeguarding the core values of Chinese civilization, something closely related to the most fundamental principles of mankind,” he said.

Zhang hopes that more people will join the practitioners’ effort to end the perscution in China. “By safeguarding our conscience, we will bring a better future to ourselves, to China, and to the world,” he said.

2016-4-25-nyc-1
Zhang Erping, spokesperson for Falun Dafa Information Center, recounts the peaceful protest in 1999.

Calm and Rational

Yao Jie, an assistant of a Falun Gong group exercise site in Beijing before the persecution began, attended the appeal in 1999. Officials charged her with “attacking Zhongnanhai” (the central government compound) in December 1999 and sentenced her to seven years of imprisonment.

Currently living in the United States, Yao recalled why she and other practitioners went to appeal in Beijing. “After a Tianjin City magazine defamed Falun Gong, some practitioners went to the publisher for clarification, but they were met with riot police; 45 practitioners were arrested for no reason.” Because their rights were deprived in Tianjin, the only option—as allowed by the law—was to go to Beijing and appeal to higher officials.

At about 8:00 pm on April 25, 1999, upon hearing that their request had been addressed, all the practitioners left the site within half an hour. “They also voluntarily cleaned up the site, even picking up cigarette butts left by police officers,” Yao said.

While outsiders were impressed by the practitioners’ calm and rational manner throughout the process, Yao said it was the principles of Falun Gong–Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance–that shaped practitioners’ high moral character.

Everyone Is Taking a Stance

Li Tianxiao, a political analyst at the political science department of Columbia University, said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has exhausted all means in the past 17 years to attack Falun Gong but did not succeed.

“The reason lies in the principles of Falun Gong. Because Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance represents virtue and the common good, anyone who challenges them is doomed to fail,” commented Li.

The regime escalated the nationwide suppression campaign and has even harvested organs from living Falun Gong practitioners incarcerated for their faith. “In the beginning, we thought only very few hospitals were involved. Now we know the situation is much worse than what we had thought. Thousands of cases, or tens of thousands of cases–the number is much higher than what we had imagined,” explained Damon Noto, spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH).

2016-4-25-nyc-2
Damon Noto from Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) tells audience of the Chinese regime’s harvesting of organs from livign practitioners in China.

Wang Zhiyuan, spokesperson for World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), said that, because of the regime’s brutality during the persecution of Falun Gong and its previous political campaigns, everyone is taking a stance in front of this critical issue, and that any hope placed in the CCP will lead to nowhere.

Quitting CCP ‘Only Way Out’

The majority of Chinese have been, or used to be, affiliated with the Communist Party. Other than the Party itself, most teenagers and young children are required to join the CCP’s Youth League and Young Pioneers organizations.

Yu Chunguang, a former high school English teacher from Guangdong Province, said the Party had effectively brainwashed several generations of Chinese people. “It was the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party that helped me to understand what the CCP is, and how it defamed Falun Gong and persecuted practitioners so badly.”

Two resolutions recently passed by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R.1150 and H.R.3694, gave support for the freedom of religion and condemned organ trafficking. Both resolutions are connected with the ongoing human rights abuses in China.

“When I traveled to Washington D.C. last month, I met a group of Chinese who were paid to ‘welcome’ visiting Chinese leaders. I cannot imagine why these people would sell their dignity in exchange for 80 yuan,” said Yu.

According to Yi Rong, president of the Global Service Center for Quitting the CCP, more than 230 million people have separated themselves from the CCP and its youth organizations.

2016-4-25-nyc-3
Yi Rong, president of the Global Service Center for Quitting the CCP, said over 230 million Chinese have separated themselves from the CCP organizations.

“By separating themselves from the Communist Party, people will have a clearer understanding of themselves and society. All these will lead to a higher moral level in society,” remarked David Tompkins, a contact person for the service center.

Positive Feedback from Chinese Tourists

Many pedestrians stopped to learn about Falun Gong and the persecution, including those working at nearby restaurants and stores.

Some of them told practitioners that they wanted to quit the Chinese Communist Party. Wu, a tourist visiting the United States for the first time, said he had watched videos of Falun Gong activities previously. “But this rally is much better than what I saw on the computer,” he said.

Excited by the practitioners’ march and rally, Wu said he felt bad for Chinese people, since “we hardly have a place to speak what we really think back in China.” He said he would tell others about Falun Gong upon returning to China.

Martha Flores-Vazquez, a community leader in Flushing, said she was proud of Falun Gong practitioners for what they have done for the community and society. “It requires all of us to maintain a safe and peaceful society with justice,” she said.

“Seventeen years of persecution is too long,” she added. “We must stop it.”

2016-4-25-nyc-4
Flushing community leader Martha Flores-Vazquez calls for more people to join practitioners’ efforts to end the persecution in China.

Chinese version available

Category: Peaceful Protest of April 25, 1999

Taipei, Taiwan: Falun Gong Practitioners Hold Large Group Exercise Commemorating Peaceful Protest in Beijing 17 Years Ago

April 26, 2016 | By Minghui correspondent Liu Wenxin

(Minghui.org) More than 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners participated in a large group exercise at Taipei City Hall Square on April 24, 2016. The event was organized by the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association to commemorate the April 25th peaceful protest in Beijing 17 years ago, and to call on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to end the suppression.

Shortly after Falun Gong practitioners were illegally arrested in Tianjin, a major city near Beijing in April 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners participated in a peaceful appeal in Beijing on April 25. Jiang Zemin, head of the CCP at the time, ordered a ban on Falun Gong in July. The ban was followed by nationwide arrests, detentions, and torture of innocent practitioners.

Practitioners in many regions around the world have since been holding events every year to raise awareness of the severe human rights violations. Several city councilors from both Taipei and Kaohsiung, the two largest cities in Taiwan, attended the event at Taipei City Hall Square on April 24.

2016-4-24-taipei-1

2016-4-24-taipei-2
Over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners joined the group exercise in Taipei on April 24, 2016.

Speaking Out for Justice

Chang Chin-hwa, president of Taiwan Falun Dafa Association, said that then Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, met with some practitioners during the appeal and addressed their request. “This peaceful solution impressed Western society and international news media. However, Jiang nonetheless chose to suppress Falun Gong three months later. The atrocity has continued for the past 17 years, and includes harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, which is beyond imagination.”

Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of the totalitarian CCP regime. About 80 million Chinese died during the series of political campaigns launched by the Party in the past few decades. More than 230 million Chinese have renounced their memberships in the CCP and its affiliated organizations since the publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party in 2004.

2016-4-24-taipei-3
Chang Chin-hwa, president of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association, spoke at the event. The three Chinese characters in front of her are: “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”

She said practitioners in Taiwan have joined efforts to end the persecution of Falun Gong in China and hold Jiang responsible for his crimes. “We must speak out for justice and we must stop the CCP’s brutality,” remarked Chang.

A Better World

Chen Lina, a member of the Kaohsiung City Council, traveled to Taipei to support the Falun Gong practitioners. From her observation, she found practitioners are nice people and they bring positive energy as well as hope to the society.

Because of the positive changes Falun Gong has brought, “I would recommend Falun Gong to my friends,” she said.

2016-4-24-taipei-4
Looking back at the events of 17 years ago, Chen said it was a turning point in history. It takes efforts to do things that will benefit the entire society, but Falun Gong practitioners have been doing so, with determination and persistence. She believes this will lead to a better world and a brighter future for everyone.

Suppression Will Stop

Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi said he came here to help Chinese people gain freedom, human rights, and justice. “The Chinese communist regime is one of the few regimes that suppress people so badly.” He said this goes against the society, and he called on more people, including tourists from the mainland, to condemn Jiang’s directorship, and the harm he has caused to the people.

Despite the ongoing persecution, Hung said the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance will prevail, and the suppression will come to an end.

Chang Mao-nan, another Taipei City Councilor, praised Falun Gong practitioners for their persistence in freedom of belief. “What I do not understand is, what makes the CCP scared and what basis does it have to suppress Falun Gong?” He encouraged tourists from China to learn the facts about Falun Gong during their trip, and pass on the information after returning.

2016-4-24-taipei-5
Taipei City Councilor Chang Mao-nan said he believes Falun Gong will be freely practiced in mainland China in the future.

Chang reiterated that Falun Gong practitioners are innocent and peaceful. It is Jiang and the CCP who act against people’s will, causing harm to Chinese people. He expects Falun Gong will once again be widely practiced in mainland China in the future.

Both Hung and Chang hoped to initiate a resolution in the Taipei City Council to hold Jiang responsible for the severe human rights violations.

Tsai Shou-jen, a practitioner who attended the event, said many Taiwan residents heard about Falun Gong for the first time during the appeal 17 years ago. “It was amazing that the group was so peaceful. What impressed us more was that when practitioners left the site, they voluntarily cleaned up the place, and even cigarette butts left by police officers were picked up.”

Tsai said that on the day following April 25, 1999, more than 20 people went to a group exercise site near Tsai’s home to learn the exercises. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people practicing Falun Gong in Taiwan.

Chinese version available

Category: April 25 Events