On April 25, 1999, approximately 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered to protest peacefully on the streets of Beijing after the unexplained arrests of some 50 fellow practitioners in the nearby city of Tianjin. The location was adjacent to the Central Appeals Office, where they hoped their case would be heard. Police on hand directed them to line up on several streets in the area, also home to Zhongnanhai, the Party’s central government compound.
The 10,000 left quietly later that day after a contingent met with Premier Zhu Rongji and secured the release of the practitioners wrongly arrested in Tianjin.
But Party leader Jiang Zemin had his propaganda ministry publicize the gathering, not as the peaceful protest that it was, but instead as a “siege of Zhongnanhai,” the central government compound. This propaganda stunt was used to turn public opinion against Falun Gong, and as an excuse for launching the brutal crackdown that began just a few months later. Nearly 18 years of persecution have since followed.
To commemorate the 18th anniversary of the April 25 peaceful demonstration in Beijing, Falun Gong practitioners in Europe held activities to raise awareness of the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) in China.
Poland: Raising Awareness Via Television Interview in Warsaw
In front of the Chinese Embassy in Poland, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Huang and Mr. Mateuszem Filipkowskim talked to Telewizja Polska TVP3 about the April 25 peaceful appeal 18 years ago. They then went on to talk about the Chinese regime's ensuing brutal persecution:
As a result of practitioners' persistent efforts, people around the world have come to understand the truth about the persecution despite the CCP's slanderous propaganda.
More than 200,000 criminal complaints have been filed to-date against Jiang Zemin for his role in the persecution, and more than 2.23 million people in 30 countries and regions have signed a petition calling for bringing Jiang to justice. The European Parliament and U.S. Congress have passed resolutions condemning the CCP's forced organ harvesting from living prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.
|Practitioners in Poland peacefully protest in front of Chinese Embassy in Warsaw on April 23|
|Telewizja Polska TVP3, a Polish TV channel, interviews a practitioner|
Both practitioners called upon the Polish Government and people to show concern and help stop the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong. The interview was broadcast during that evening's program.
Germany: Protest at the Chinese Consulate in Munich
Practitioners held a peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Consulate in Munich on April 23, 2017. Practitioners from Bavaria displayed banners and informational boards to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, especially the communist regime's killing of practitioners and taking their organs for transplants.
|Group exercise in front of Chinese Consulate in Munich|
Sweden: Protest at Chinese Embassy and Signature Drive in Stockholm
Practitioners in Sweden held a series of activities in Stockholm on April 22, 2017. In the morning, they gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy, demonstrated the Falun Dafa exercises, read a letter to the embassy staff, and talked to passersby about the persecution in China.
|Practitioners in Sweden protest in front of the Chinese Embassy|
The afternoon event took place at the bustling Mynttorget, a public square near the Royal Palace. The practitioners set up banners, display boards, and an information table, continuing their effort to raise awareness of the persecution and organ harvesting crimes taking place in China.
|Passersby sign a petition calling for an end to the persecution in China|
Mr. Martin and his wife, Anna, said it was incredible that such a brutal persecution is still going on. Mr. Martin was outraged by the organ harvesting crimes and the theft of organs from healthy individuals who do not harm anyone and only want to become better people.
Anna, who is a nurse, commented on the practitioners' peaceful protest, “It's a powerful demonstration, because they do it silently and with dignity.” They signed the petition and said that they would talk to their friends so that more people can help to end the persecution.
Group Exercise and Signature Collection in Switzerland
Practitioners in Switzerland demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises at the Rose Garden in the city of Bern and at the Lake Side in Zurich on April 23. They also set up a table to collect signatures calling for an end to the persecution in China.
An elderly lady commented that the 10,000 practitioners at the April 25 appeal in 1999 were really courageous, because they must have been quite sure of the communist regime's brutality. Many people showed interest in learning the Falun Dafa exercises after watching the practitioners' gentle exercise demonstration and hearing the serene music.
|Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Dafa exercises and collect signatures at the Rose Garden in Bern|
Peaceful Protest and Signature Drive in Finland
Local practitioner Ms. Ma Xuehong called for the immediate release of her sister Ma Xueqing, who is a lawyer in Dalian City, Liaoning Province in China. For remaining steadfast in her belief in Falun Gong, Ms. Ma was sentenced to three years and six months in prison in December 2016, and the Dalian Intermediate Court upheld the original verdict on March 15, 2017.
Another practitioner, Mr. Wu Zhiping, also related how six members of his family were subjected to persecution due to their belief in Falun Gong in China.
|Practitioners in Finland demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises at the Chinese Consulate on April 25|
Russia: Peaceful Protest at Chinese Consulate in Moscow
A relay protest began at 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., with many passerby stopping to watch, take flyers or listen to practitioners.
|Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises in front of the Chinese Consulate in Moscow on April 25|
|A practitioner participating in the peaceful relay protest in front of the Chinese Consulate calls for an end to the persecution|
Several young people from Moscow University were reminded of the victims of the Soviet Communist regime after they learned about the Chinese Communist regime's state-sanctioned killing of Falun Gong practitioners and taking their organs for profit. They remarked, “The nature of the Communist Party is evil.”
Netherlands: Rally and Signature Drive in the Hague
Falun Gong practitioners in the Netherlands gathered in The Hague on April 25 to mark the peaceful 1999 demonstration in Beijing.
|Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises in front of the Chinese Consulate in The Hague|
In the morning of April 25, practitioners quietly demonstrated the exercises on the lawn opposite the Chinese Consulate. Banners behind them conveyed their messages: Stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China; The World Needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The afternoon event took place downtown near the Dutch Parliament. Practitioners talked to passersby about the persecution and asked for people to work together to stop it. They also collected signatures calling for an end to the forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners.
Greece: Raising Awareness at Tourist Site in Athens
Practitioners held activities at the Acropolis, a major tourist site in Athens, on April 23, 2017.
|Visitors to the Acropolis learn about Falun Gong and the persecution in China|
The exercise demonstration and peaceful music drew the attention of many tourists. Many of them were shocked after learning about the forced organ harvesting atrocities in China, and they signed a petition to show their support for Falun Gong.
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