San Francisco—Over 600 Falun Gong practitioners participated in activities in San Francisco this weekend to commemorate the peaceful April 25 appeal that took place in Beijing 15 years ago.
Activities included a candlelight vigil on Friday night at the Chinese Consulate, a large human character formation at Civic Center on Saturday, as well as several anti-torture exhibits around the city.
On April 25, 1999, a large group of Falun Gong adherents gathered in peaceful protest at the central appeal office in Beijing after the arrests and beatings of several fellow adherents two days before.
This famous protest was the excuse that Jiang Zemin, then the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), had been looking for to push forward his agenda in eradicating the practice.
After this, a campaign of mass persecution, which some legal experts call a genocide, began. Millions are believed to have been tortured in labor camps, lost their jobs and homes, been expelled from school, or lost loved ones through the persecution.
Falun Gong is a qigong system of slow-moving exercises and meditation for improving one’s health and wellbeing. Many people have wondered, if Falun Gong is so good for people, why would the CCP begin a persecution against it?
A good synopsis of the situation can by found in an entertaining four-part series of short videos on the YouTube channel China Uncensored, hosted by Chris Chappell. The videos are called “What is Falun Gong,” and “Why is Falun Gong Persecuted? (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).”
Another good place to learn about the persecution is on the website Minghui.org.
The very fact that the appeal was peaceful was unsettling to the regime. It was unheard of that such a huge group of protesters could be so polite. They stood quietly by the side of the road, leaving room for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. They tried not to use the limited local facilities, therefore they didn’t eat or drink much all day. They picked up the trash on the ground when they left.
How could such a massive group be so well-organized? The leaders in Beijing wondered what kind of disciplinary system they must be under.
However, Falun Gong adherents discipline themselves and had not been told what to do by anyone. The practice teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. It teaches people to be good, so behaving respectfully was the natural thing to do.
Still, Jiang Zemin used the appeal to begin an all-out slander campaign against Falun Gong in an attempt to justify a massive and brutal persecution by the CCP.
In commemoration of the “4/25 event” this year, there were several events in San Francisco this weekend, including a candlelight vigil at the Chinese consulate on Friday, human character formations at the Civic Center on Saturday (where people dressed in various colors and sat in the form of Chinese characters), and anti-torture exhibits around the City.
These exhibits portrayed the actual torture methods that Falun Gong adherents have endured in China. The purpose of the exhibits is to inform the public of the extent of the persecution, according to Falun Gong contact person Huy Lu.
“By passing flyers and informing San Franciscans of what’s happening currently in China, we hope that people will take action, inform their government officials, let each other know—in an effort to stop this persecution,” Huy said.