The day of April 25, 1999 will forever be remembered in history. On this day, more than 10,000 [Falun] Dafa practitioners, with trust and hope in the Chinese government, exercised their constitutional right to appeal. They hoped that the government would properly handle the incident in Tianjin where police officers brutally beat and arrested Falun Gong practitioners who went to clarify the truth to the publishing house that had printed articles slandering Dafa.
On April 24, two fellow practitioners and I heard about the illegal arrest and beating of practitioners at the hands of Tianjin police officers. That was reason for us, after our morning exercises, to decide to go the next day to the National Appeals Bureau located on Fuyou Street to appeal to the government.
1. Plainclothes police officers carelessly divulged their "secret plans": they had known about our appeal a long time ago
When we walked to the middle section of Fuyou Street, we met 20-30 fellow practitioners who arrived one-by-one. Just then, I heard a man around 30 years of age say loudly in a complacent manner, "Is [name omitted] Dafa practitioner here?" Later, I learned that this man was a plainclothes police officer; furthermore, it became evident that the police department knew that practitioners were going to appeal on this day. At that moment, several officers directed us to walk toward the north. As more and more practitioners arrived, the police then ordered us to stay where we were, on the west side of the street. During the whole process, all the police officers, including the plainclothes police, acted in a very relaxed manner. None of them appeared nervous, surprised or shocked, and their words and actions were very mild. I didn't sense anything strange at that time.
2. The police officers directed us to "enter the spot" and arranged us in a certain way to "take our position"
A while later, something unbelievable happened. A group of officers led a large group of very peaceful practitioners towards us. There were so many of them that one could not see the end of the group. They walked from the south towards the north. Soon after, the other side of the street was also filled with people. The police ordered all of us to go to the west side of Fuyou Street, and only police officers and police cars were left on the east side. Then, facing us, the police stood in a row, close together, on the west side of the street, about two to three meters from the curb.
This was a broad outline of the situation that day. It was only later that the number of police decreased by a large percentage. In the daytime, cars drove by, with people inside videotaping us. During this time, some practitioners went up on the road and tried to communicate with the police. The practitioners were not stopped, and the police showed a gentle attitude throughout the day.
3. Practitioners were greatly ordered, and kept all the pathways and traffic turn-around unblocked.
Because there were so many of us, the sidewalk on the west side was filled with people standing there. But all the pathways to buildings, residential houses, traffic turns or other areas were kept unblocked, to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. At that time I was quite moved by such thoughtfulness. By and large, the practitioners on the sidewalk didn't move much at all. The appeals crowd remained peaceful and quiet all that time and there was not a single shout of slogans. Even their low-voiced conversations could be clearly heard by the police. Later, as it became a little hot, we asked the elderly practitioners and practitioners from far away places to take a rest by sitting on the sidewalk. Those next to the street were standing neatly facing east. From time to time, people would take turns resting. What's worthy of mentioning is that, throughout the whole period of the appeal, we heard no complaints from the local residents or people who worked in that area. On the contrary, many people commented, "These people really behave very nobly!"
4. Quietly waiting for a response, studying the Fa, doing the exercises and sharing experiences
We were all very concerned about how the Tianjin Incident would be resolved, and all of us quietly waited for news of a resolution. During this time, many practitioners were studying the Fa [the teachings of Falun Gong]. Looking across from the south to the north, one could see that almost all practitioners were neatly standing on the sidewalk reading Dafa books. It was such an unforgettable scene. Some practitioners shared experiences in low voices. When talking about the appeal, most practitioners disclosed that they couldn't understand why the Tianjin police officers beat and arrested practitioners.
In a CCTV program that slandered the "April 25 Appeal," an official from the Tianjin City Police Department even shamelessly claimed that not a single practitioner was arrested in Tianjin! When the truth of history will become known, the liars will forever carry shame on their shoulders.
5. Consciously kept the environment clean; practitioners spread out into small lanes
Due to the large number of people who came to appeal; it was not very easy to walk about. So when practitioners went to buy food or went to the toilet, they would volunteer to take away any rubbish found around, putting it in a plastic bag. Many practitioners collected rubbish, and they also picked up all the cigarette butts and pieces of trash that were lying around before they came. They put them neatly together in one place, ready for collection. The number of people kept increasing, and by the time I went to buy a drink in the afternoon, I saw the lanes near the street in the residential area west of Fuyou Street were also full of practitioners. They did not push into Fuyou Street, but quietly sat where they were.
The CCTV program, in order to slander Falun Gong, went so far as to label a young man who was bending down to collect rubbish as a "secret organizer!" The fact is that practitioners did not know one another. Who then could organize whom?
6. News of the appeal spread far and wide; many people telephoned to inquire
By that afternoon, news of the appeal spread across the country. Some of my friends or acquaintances telephoned to inquire about the situation and felt a bit worried. I told them that people here were all Dafa practitioners and the social order was very good. I told them that we were here mainly to report on the incident in Tianjin, and because it was very easy for the government to verify the situation through investigation, there would not be any problems.
7. Tianjin released practitioners; masses of people dispersed peacefully
By the time news of the Tianjin practitioners being released came, it was already very dark. After verifying the news in several ways, practitioners dispersed peacefully and went home and many practitioners walked on both sides of the street. The police came back on duty again. There was an increase in the number of police, but the atmosphere was very relaxed. We walked a long distance, and everyone was trying to help the aged practitioners and people from other areas to get on the bus first. If we saw a big crowd of people waiting at the bus stop, we would keep on walking to the next stop. When we had walked past several stops, we still saw a large number of people walking with us.
8. It is cultivation, not politics
Throughout the entire appeal event, the compassion and peacefulness demonstrated by Dafa practitioners were hard to imagine, unless you were there yourself. Some practitioners were moved to tears on the spot. I still feel immensely inspired, even today, when I recall those scenes. All these were merely natural manifestations of the xinxing [heart/mind nature; moral quality] improvement of practitioners, based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance."
The above are my personal experiences. I am writing them down in order to allow more people to get to know the truth, that throughout the entire incident of April 25, Dafa practitioners did not have any motives to get involved in politics. Our appeal merely was to report to the central government the situation in Tianjin. When the government resolved the problem to a certain extent by releasing the Tianjin practitioners they had arrested earlier, and after we were given the undertaking that further investigation would be conducted, practitioners dispersed peacefully. Throughout the entire event there were no slogans, no banners, no unkind language, no inappropriate behaviour or impatience. Practitioners consciously maintained the social order and created the first great, peaceful mass appeal in the history of China. The self-respect, self-discipline, honesty, kindness, endurance and nobility demonstrated by Dafa practitioners have set an example for human behaviour and established a monument of justice and peace for humanity, to be passed on from generation to generation.
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2002/4/30/29304.html
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