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Falun Gong Practitioners Worldwide Commemorate 25th Anniversary of Peaceful Appeal

April 25 marks the 25th anniversary of the peaceful mass petition of Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing. Adherents around the world have been holding commemorations of the event since the weekend.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was introduced to the public in Changchun city of Jilin Province in 1992 by Li Hongzhi. It’s a traditional spiritual practice rooted in Buddhist traditions, following the principles of truth, compassion, and forbearance. Due to its effectiveness in improving the public’s physical and mental health, it spread rapidly across China through word of mouth. In just seven years, the number of practitioners was estimated to be near 100 million.

In 1999, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was afraid that there were too many people practicing Falun Gong, so it began to secretly suppress Falun Gong in many places across the country and used its media mouthpieces to attack the practice.

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the CCP’s Petition Office of the State Council in Beijing to file a petition, demanding the authorities release 45 Falun Gong practitioners who had been illegally arrested by local police in Tianjin, and also requesting that the authorities allow the legal publication of Falun Gong books and ensure Falun Gong practitioners’ freedom to practice, which is protected by China’s constitution.

Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai to silently and peacefully appeal for freedom of belief on April 25, 1999. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai to silently and peacefully appeal for freedom of belief on April 25, 1999. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)

The then-CCP premier met with the representatives of Falun Gong practitioners on that day and agreed to the demands.

The “April 25” petition and peaceful demonstration were described by international media at the time as the most successful, rational, and peaceful petition in the history of China’s petitions.

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However, the then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin, who was in control of the communist regime and its military and police, launched an unprecedented persecution campaign against Falun Gong practitioners on July 22 of that year. Since then, countless Falun Gong practitioners have been kidnapped, illegally jailed, tortured, and killed, including falling victim to the regime’s live organ harvesting.

It has been 25 years since the April 25 peaceful petition, but the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong is still ongoing.Los AngelesOn April 21, a rally in support of Falun Gong practitioners was held in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles to commemorate April 25 and call for an end to the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong.Chinese expats in Los Angeles gather in front of the Chinese consulate to protest against the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Beijing, on April 21, 2024. (Ma Shangen/The Epoch Times)Chinese expats in Los Angeles gather in front of the Chinese consulate to protest against the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Beijing, on April 21, 2024. (Ma Shangen/The Epoch Times)

Ye Mingsheng from Ganzhou city of Jiangxi Province spoke at the rally, saying that he must stand up and say something for his junior high school English teacher: “My English teacher is a Falun Gong practitioner. Her name is Xie Xiangning. She was taken away from the classroom by the police while she was teaching.”

“She’s a very good teacher. We could see that she’s kind and treated every student better than other teachers. However, she was arrested and sent to jail and lost her job.” Mr. Ye said. “She suffered very serious persecution and I have to speak out for her in front of the camera today.”

Jie Lijian, organizer of the rally and vice chairman of the China Democracy Party Joint Headquarters, said in his concluding speech at the event that the CCP has been persecuting Falun Gong for 25 years, and Falun Gong practitioners have suffered many hardships and persecutions, “but they have left their smile from the heart to the world, which has brought warmth to more than 100 countries. They also told the whole world the truth and the evil terror of the CCP.”

Mr. Jie said that the “Three Withdrawals” movement initiated by Falun Gong practitioners has encouraged more than 400 million Chinese people to withdraw from the CCP and its youth and children’s organizations, breaking away from the evil, “their achievements in resisting the persecution are exemplary to the world and worthy of our admiration.”

The Chinese expatriates who came to express support held banners, such as “Harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners is condemned by heaven,” “Release imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners immediately,” and others.New YorkOn April 21, Falun Gong practitioners held a grand parade and rally in Flushing, New York, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the “April 25” peaceful petition.

Sun Quan’an, a new Chinese immigrant, who has only been in the United States for two months, quit the CCP and got his withdrawal certificate at the rally. He told The Epoch Times that he learned the truth about Falun Gong for the first time at this demonstration and he just realized that everything the CCP said was false.

Sun Quan'an is getting his certificate of withdrawal from the CCP at the rally to commemorate the April 25 petition in Flushing, New York on April 21, 2024. (Shi Ping/The Epoch Times)Sun Quan’an is getting his certificate of withdrawal from the CCP at the rally to commemorate the April 25 petition in Flushing, New York on April 21, 2024. (Shi Ping/The Epoch Times)

“It’s shocking. I knew nothing about it when I was in China. It completely changed my understanding,” he said. “Falun Gong is completely different from what is propagated in China! I really can’t believe that we have all been controlled in China for so many years. Fortunately, I left.”

Mr. Sun said that many  Chinese people are actually living a very hard life, but because of the CCP’s “deep brainwashing,” they still think their lives are pretty good.

Rallies and vigils to commemorate the April 25 event and victims of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong were also held in other major U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and others.CanadaOn April 21, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25 petition, more than a hundred Falun Gong practitioners held a rally and large-scale group exercises in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver to show the Canadian public the beauty of Falun Dafa.More than a hundred Falun Gong practitioners do group exercises in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25, 1999, peaceful petition in China, on April 21, 2024. (Yu Sheng/The Epoch Times)More than a hundred Falun Gong practitioners do group exercises in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25, 1999, peaceful petition in China, on April 21, 2024. (Yu Sheng/The Epoch Times)

On April 22, Falun Gong practitioners in Calgary, Canada, gathered in front of the Chinese consulate to commemorate the 25th anniversary of April 25.

Dozens of local Falun Gong practitioners held banners written in both Chinese and English, such as “Falun Dafa is good,” “Stop the persecution of Falun Gong,” and “Stop the CCP’s live organ harvesting.” Some people who drove by the site rolled down their car windows and made a V-sign while honking their horns to show support.

Similar commemoration activities were held in Toronto, Edmonton, and other Canadian cities.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto gather in front of the Ontario Parliament Building to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Beijing, on April 20, 2024. (Zhang Jerry/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto gather in front of the Ontario Parliament Building to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Beijing, on April 20, 2024. (Zhang Jerry/The Epoch Times)South KoreaSouth Korean Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on April 22 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25 peaceful petition.Some South Korean Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25 peaceful petition on April 22, 2024. (Han Jimin/ The Epoch Times)Some South Korean Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the April 25 peaceful petition on April 22, 2024. (Han Jimin/ The Epoch Times)

“In a society under the brutal rule of the CCP, it is very remarkable to solve problems in a peaceful way,” Falun Gong practitioner Xu Zhengzhe told reporters and the public at a press conference. He believes that the peaceful petition on April 25 is of great significance. Mr. Xu regained health after starting to practice Falun Gong in 1994. He said that since then he hasn’t seen a doctor or taken any medicine for 30 years, and his morality has also improved.

Mr. Xu said that it is of great significance to hold events to commemorate the April 25 petition internationally. “Today I’m here to let the South Korean government and public understand the truth. Only when people know what is truly bad can they create a good society.”JapanHundreds of Falun Gong practitioners marched to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Tokyo, Japan on April 21, 2024. (Zhang Shuhui/ The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners marched to commemorate the April 25, 1999, petition in Tokyo, Japan on April 21, 2024. (Zhang Shuhui/ The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners in Japan gathered in Asakusa, a popular tourist spot in Tokyo on April 21 to hold a parade to commemorate April 25 and call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

Japanese citizen Kentaro Abe, who was watching the parade, told The Epoch Times that after he learned about the persecution of Falun Gong, he called on people “not to bow to the oppression of the Communist Party, but to persist in their beliefs, continue to resist the persecution, and make the truth known to the world.” He also praised the Tianguo marching band members’ performance, calling it extraordinary.

Ma Shangen, Shi Ping, Lin Caifeng, Wang Jiayi, Wang Wenliang, and Xu Yi contributed to this report.

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