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.
Protest in Front of the Chinese Embassy in Romania
Falun Gong practitioners in Romania held a peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Embassy on April 25 to inform more Romanians of the CCP's ongoing persecution in China.
|Practitioners in front of the Chinese Embassy in Romania protest the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong|
They set up posters with Falun Gong information, demonstrated the exercises, and distributed information. Many passersby paused to pick up brochures and study the posters.
Protest at the Chinese Embassy in Belgium
Falun Gong practitioners in Belgium held a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy to commemorate the April 25 peaceful demonstration and condemn the persecution being carried out by the Chinese regime. They demanded that the instigators of the persecution be brought to justice.
|Practitioners’ protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Belgium|
The practitioners did the exercises together in the morning. Their large banners read: “Commemorating the 18th Anniversary of April 25 Peaceful Protest,” “Falun Gong Is Great,” and “Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong,” among others. They also distributed flyers to passersby.
Nico, the event organizer, said that more and more people now know about Falun Gong because of practitioners' efforts all over the world to raise awareness over the past 18 years. He said that events like this would continue to be held until the persecution stops.
Practitioners from Siberia held a series of events in multiple cities on April 21-26. Besides protesting the persecution in front of the Chinese consulate, practitioners also collected signatures on a petition that condemns the state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China. The petition forms will be submitted to the United Nations organizations.
|Rally in Ulan-Ude on April 21|
|Signing a petition in Tomsk on April 23||Event in front of the Chinese consulate in Irkutsk on April 26|
Practitioners from Vienna held an event at the famous tourist spot, Maria-Theresien-Platz, on April 25. The exercise demonstration and display boards attracted many people, who talked with practitioners and signed a petition condemning the persecution. Several local citizens also expressed interest in learning the exercises.
|People sign the petition to condemn the persecution of Falun Gong|
|Demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises||Sending forth righteous thoughts|
The commemoration in Ireland was held in front of the Chinese embassy on April 25.
|Rally in front of the Chinese embassy in Ireland on April 25|
At the rally, two Chinese practitioners who had been tortured in China recalled their experiences. Liu Feng pointed out that practitioners have never and will never give up the peaceful resistance, despite the severe persecution.
Liu Feng said, “It is our wish to tell the facts to everyone in a peaceful way so that the persecution will end soon, and the reputation of Master Mr. Li Hongzhi and Falun Dafa will be restored soon.”
Two western practitioners said they were happy to see that Falun Gong has spread so broadly in Ireland and around the world. One of the Western practitioners said, “This is a special gift from Master Li Hongzhi to the world. We will never forget those who are suffering from the persecution in China.”
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