A momentous event in history - the anniversary of the April 25 Appeal was here again. Practitioners who personally experienced the appeal have many thoughts to share. Amongst them is Chen Gang from Germany.
Reporter De Xiang: You participated in the peaceful appeal at the National Appeals Office on April 25, 1999. What were your thoughts at that time?
Chen Gang: I started hearing about Falun Gong in 1994. Later, I started practising. I feel that having faith in the truth can give people great courage. I heard from practitioners at the group exercise site on April 25, 1999, that several dozen practitioners were arrested by the police in Tianjin. So I decided to go appeal at the National Appeals Office in Beijing.
I personally witnessed the brutal scenes during the Tiananmen Square massacre. The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) killing shocked me. Since then I knew that the CCP is capable of doing anything. People from our generation all have fear of the CCP. However, the righteous faith I gained from practicing Falun Gong gave me courage. Therefore, I still went to Beijing to appeal.
Reporter: Then you did not have any fear?
Chen Gang: I certainly thought about it, especially because I personally witnessed the Tiananmen Square massacre and saw many people being killed and hurt that day. After that, I believe that the CCP could do anything.
However, Falun Gong's principles are Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Belief in these principles is beneficial to the people, the nation and society. I did not think it was fair for practitioners to get arrested because they practice Falun Gong and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This world needs more Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance because these are the righteous principles. Although I thought that the CCP might do something brutal, I felt that I still needed to be responsible for upholding these righteous factors.
Reporter: When you arrived there, what did you see?
Chen Gang: That day, it was very peaceful. I did not expect to see that many people there. I was shocked to learn that there were so many Falun Gong practitioners. Practitioners were either sitting or standing quietly. Some were reading Zhuan Falun. Some were doing the meditation exercise. The traffic was not affected.
In the beginning, the police officers seemed to be very tense and nervous. I saw a military truck arrive carrying many armed police. At that time, it reminded me of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. I thought, the CCP really would do it now. From that perspective, I believed that the CCP was really prepared to do something because they had even sent out the military trucks. If the practitioners were not peaceful as they were that day, the CCP would have found any excuse, and that day would have been another Tiananmen Square Massacre.
On the other hand, I thought, nobody would be that dumb. Falun Gong teaches people to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It helps people improve and has a stabilizing effect on society. Doesn't the CCP always claim to place emphasis on the social stability? Therefore, I did not think there would be anybody so dumb as to persecute a group of people that pose no threat to anybody and who help stabilize society.
Later, those police officers saw that we were all peaceful and quiet. They went from staring at us nervously to chatting with one another casually.
Reporter: When did you leave?
Chen Gang: We stayed there until the evening. At night, we heard that the practitioners from Tianjin were released, so we all went home.
Reporter: It has been eleven years now. What's your opinion of why the CCP persecutes Falun Gong?
Chen Gang: Prior to the April 25 Appeal, there had been many instances of slandering Falun Gong in the different media, including the Guangming Daily, the Beijing Television Station and a magazine in Tianjin. They also arrested practitioners in Tianjin. It means that prior to April 25, 1999, the persecution of Falun Gong had actually already started.
I think that one main reason the CCP launched the persecution of Falun Gong was because Falun Gong is a righteous belief. The CCP relies on terrorism to maintain its regime. It launches a political movement every decade to refresh people's memory of fear. It doesn't care which group is affected by these political movements. I remember I read an internal CCP document that shows that it was targeting Falun Gong practitioners because they follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and are all kind people. They felt that practitioners could be easily bullied. Therefore, they started the persecution against Falun Gong.
Reporter: Prime Minister Zhu Rongji peacefully settled the April 25 Appeal. However, Jiang Zemin's regime still launched the persecution. What is your point of view regarding this?
Chen Gang: At that time on April 25, 1999, I thought that nobody would be this dumb [as to persecute Falun Gong]. But it turned out Jiang IS this dumb. Additionally, this persecution is not merely the persecution of Falun Gong. It is the persecution against human beings' fundamental morality. The evil CCP has been undermining the traditional Chinese culture for several decades in such movements as the well-known Cultural Revolution. It has completely destroyed thousands of years of traditional Chinese culture. Thankfully, the appearance of Falun Gong brought hope, to revive the traditional Chinese culture. However, the CCP launched the persecution of Falun Gong. It is again undermining human beings' morality and Chinese society's morality. The CCP's deceitfulness, wickedness, and brutality determine its nature. It cannot go along with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Reporter: As a witness of the April 25 Appeal, what do you think the future of the CCP will be because of the persecution of Falun Gong?
Chen Gang: The CCP's persecution of Falun Gong has lasted for eleven years. It not only did not reach its goal [in eliminating Falun Gong], but it also pushed Falun Gong to the world stage. From this perspective, the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is on a totally different level compared to the different persecutions against any organizations or individuals launched by the the CCP. Something like this has never happened in the past. It is persecuting Falun Gong and is using all its force and its resources in the persecution. And it still is not successful. Therefore, it will not have any future.