Overcoming Fear With Fortitude: Falun Gong Practitioners Commemorate April 25
BUCHAREST—Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters rallied in Bucharest on April 25 to mark 15 years of persecution of the peaceful spiritual practice Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) in China.
A peaceful protest was held opposite the Chinese Embassy between the hours of 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, April 27, practitioners held an Infoday at AFI Cotroceni Mall. Practitioners answered questions about Falun Gong and its persecution in China and offered passersby the opportunity to sign a petition calling for an end to the persecution.
On this occasion, The Epoch Times interviewed Mr. Kuki Szabolcs, president of the Association of Falun Dafa Qigong of Romania.
Epoch Times: Mr. Kuki Szabolcs can you tell us about the significance of April 25 for Falun Gong practitioners?
Kuki Szabolcs: 15 years ago, on April 25, 1999 over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered peacefully to assert their constitutionally guaranteed right to practice their faith freely, progressively limited in the previous years, culminating in the arrest and abuse of fellow practitioners by police in Tianjin. The April 25, 1999 event brought Falun Gong on the international scene and the impact of this event is still felt even today, after 15 years. After the then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji met with three representatives of Falun Gong, the 10 thousand practitioners returned peacefully to their homes the same day. Zhu agreed to release practitioners in Tianjin and gave assurances that the government has no problem with Falun Gong.
Falun Gong practitioners hope that on this day, people around the world will join them in supporting their peaceful efforts to end the vicious, illegal persecution of Falun Gong in China through calls to their members of parliament or letters to the media.
ET: Why is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) so frightened of Falun Gong?
KS: In fact, fear is rooted even in how the Party came to power. When the Party came to power, one of the first things they did was to destroy the culture and traditions of 5,000 years in China. It started persecuting believing people, demolishing temples, monasteries, and statues of Buddha, and more. Basically, it wanted to replace the ancient Chinese tradition, which called on the country’s leaders to be virtuous and to fulfill its mandate in accordance with the will of Heaven, with the motto of the Party, saying that “political power flows from the barrel of a gun.” In other words, the Party has from the beginning maintained power through violence and fear.
ET: How did the Chinese Party-state react to the events of April 25, 1999?
KS: The entire state apparatus—the army, the police, propaganda, judiciary—everything is oriented to violently crushing enemies, whether they are real or imaginary. Over and over, the population of China has witnessed horrible things happening to those who dare to contradict the party line. Once this approach has been used for decades, China’s population seemed to be conditioned to accept what the state did, and few dared to contradict it.
However, on April 25, 1999, the specter of violence was dispersed by a peaceful group whose belief in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance was stronger than the threat of imprisonment, forced labor or death.
The 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners were not in Zhongnanhai (Beijing) to challenge the CCP’s leadership, nor the violence or “class struggle” created by it. Instead, practitioners gathered peacefully to claim their constitutional right that guarantees the right to belief. This surprised the party. The CCP has always maintained power through a gun, and now faces a peaceful group of people who were not afraid to ask their fundamental rights.
ET: What were the consequences of the Falun Gong practitioners’ peaceful protest?
KS: As was somewhat expected, the regime tried eliminating the spiritual practice using force, slander and merciless violence. However, instead of spiritual practice being “eliminated in three months,” as the then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin had predicted, Falun Gong has continued to flourish and has spread to over 100 countries worldwide.
ET: What is the current situation?
KS: 15 years of persecution, beatings, electrical shocks, rape, starvation, and torture in the most inhumane forms and organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. Millions of families have been destroyed and will never be the same again. Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters continue to use peaceful and rational means to protest against the persecution taking place in China and to be help international opinion see the true face of the communist regime, which lacks any reason or human nature.
ET: You want to add anything?
KS: The strength and perseverance of Falun Gong practitioners remains unshaken even after 15 years. Their power, fueled by their belief in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, principles that provide a striking contrast to CCP principles of violence and deception. In this day of historic significance, we want to celebrate Falun Gong’s strength and perseverance.