What I Saw in Beijing on July 20, 1999

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began arresting Falun Gong practitioners nationwide on July 20, 1999. Members of the Falun Dafa Research Association in Beijing and volunteer assistants at practice sites throughout the nation were arrested overnight.

When we heard the news, we thought the CCP had made a grave mistake. Falun Gong teaches people to be good and restores our health, and the more people practice, the more our country will benefit. We went to Beijing to talk to officials at the Appeals Office and other appropriate departments, hoping the central government would see the practice for what it truly was, release all arrested practitioners, and allow practitioners to have a good environment to practice Falun Gong.

I went to the local Fa study group as usual on the evening of July 21, 1999. By then I had already learned that many practitioners had been arrested. Another practitioner and I immediately took an overnight train to Beijing. The local train station was swamped with police who guarded the entrance and exit and intercepted and interrogated people. The air was so tense, you could cut it with a knife. After we boarded the train, the security officers checked tickets and everyone's destination. They would get really nervous when someone said they were going to Beijing and would probe the purpose of their trip. Nevertheless, we made it to Beijing without incident.

Right after we exited the Beijing train station we saw groups of plainclothes police officers milling about. The feeling of terror was so overwhelming, it was almost suffocating. After a brief exchange among ourselves we decided to head toward Zhongnanhai, because we knew the State Department's Appeals Office was located in that area.

As we approached Zhongnanhai we saw even more police interrogating passersby. Many people of different ages were rounded up on a bridge. Judging by the calm and kind looks on their faces, I realized they were Falun Gong practitioners.

Several police officers walked toward us. They asked us a few questions and right away determined that we were not long-term residents of Beijing. One officer shouted, "These two are 'Truth-Compassion-Tolerance' elements. Quick, stop them!"

A car pulled up and the police shoved us in. We were not told to where we were being driven.

Exiting the vehicle I realized we were in the front courtyard of a police department where many other practitioners were already being held. The police registered each practitioner's name and home address and forced us into a bus. After a long drive, the bus stopped at the Shijingshan Sports Stadium. The police made local Beijing practitioners get off the bus, and other officers took the practitioners inside the stadium. I looked out the window and saw armed police surrounding the perimeter of the stadium.

The bus drive resumed and after an equally long time stopped at the Fengtai Sports Stadium. It seemed to have been designated as a holding place for petitioning practitioners from outside of Beijing, as I saw quite a lot of them inside.

Before we even got off the bus I heard practitioners reciting Lunyu inside the stadium, as if with one voice. Perhaps they were welcoming and encouraging us! This thought was very heartwarming, and we immediately joined the recitation.

I was subsequently taken to an area of the stadium marked "Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang" where I saw a few practitioners from our city.

It was hard to tell the exact number of practitioners in the stadium. Moreover, the buses kept arriving, bringing ever more practitioners with them. Each time a practitioner stepped off the bus, we applauded in unison to welcome him or her. Armed police and civil police were everywhere. Later I learned that between 5,000 and 7,000 armed police were present, not including security officers and plainclothes police officers. The practitioners remained incredibly calm, even when standing face-to-face with police brandishing automatic machine guns. We maintained impeccable order such as is rarely seen--even in military troops. When we remained quiet, time stood still, and when one practitioner stood up and recited Lunyu, thousands of voices immediately joined in, and it was as if the heavens were listening to us.

A woman who looked like a scholar stood up and introduced Falun Dafa to the police officers and explained to them why we came to Beijing. She asked the police to convey the practitioners' requests and good intentions to state leaders. Other practitioners clapped their hands to show their support. She then suggested that we talk about our cultivation experiences. The miracles and wonders that we proceeded to tell deeply touched the police officers. When some practitioners spoke of how the mighty power of Falun Dafa had brought them back from death's door, I spotted many armed police officers wiping their eyes.

Soon, about 500 armed police officers were brought into the center of the field. One man who looked like a commander yelled out an order, and all of them sat down; another order, they all stood up. The man shouted a slogan, and all 500 soldiers followed suit. Judging from their actions, I thought they were sent to intimidate us.

We sat quietly from morning till afternoon.

At 4:00 p.m., two more groups arrived--police and city administrative agents. It was not until later that we realized the Communist Party was going to announce the ban on Falun Gong through the stadium speakers, and they wanted to make sure nothing happened in case we reacted unpredictably. After the broadcast was over, we again recited Lunyu and "Hong Yin." This time, under instructions from government officials, the police used violence. Some practitioners were beaten, some were dragged to the middle of the grassy area, but we never stopped reciting Dafa articles.

In the evening, a man who looked like an official came to the section where I was held and claimed he was the deputy governor of Heilongjiang Province and that he was in Beijing for a meeting but heard about people appealing for Falun Gong, so he rushed over. He asked, "Who is from Heilongjiang?" No one answered him. He then approached a 30-year-old practitioner and asked where he was from. The practitioner told him he was a police officer from Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province. The official looked shocked. He immediately turned around and told the police, "There are police officers in the Falun Gong crowd." Soon, three Beijing police officers came and grabbed the police practitioner. They twisted his arm behind him and pulled him away. He returned some time later. We asked him what had happened. He said the Beijing police took his police badge.

Police from my city also came at dusk. They asked us, "Who is from such and such city?" Whoever answered yes was taken to an empty field. One practitioner spoke after being asked three times, and the police beat him. Two police officers struck him to the ground and kicked and dragged him around. It was summertime, and his shirt was instantly torn. Blood oozed from his arms and back. Several practitioners shouted to stop the beating. The police were afraid, and they stopped.

We were forced into several buses at 10:00 p.m. Several police cars with flashing lights and piercing sirens led the way. We were driven to a train station called Mentougou. A long row of armed police extended all the way to a train parked at the station. Riot police wearing steel helmets, high boots, and holding machine guns stood on the platform. We took the train back to Jinzhou City.

A constant stream of practitioners flowed into Beijing to appeal. Some practitioners were savagely tortured for speaking the truth, and many others were illegally sentenced to prison or labor camps. Others died from gross abuse.

Terror has shrouded China for the past nine years. Now, the Party is merely struggling before taking its last breath; it is even vainly attempting to rescue itself by escalating the persecution. In fact, the Party's fate was sealed the moment it turned its "guns" on Falun Gong practitioners.

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