April 25 Appeal of Ten Thousand, A Dialogue Model for China
In ancient China, people would traditionally beat a drum
outside the court to lodge a complain against injustice.
Fifteen years ago, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners
went to Zhongnanhai to appeal.
In order to maintain their rights of belief,
they requested the release of Falun Gong practitioners
illegally detained by Tianjin City authorities.
Observers say that Falun Gong practitioners’ rational
and peaceful appeals are pioneering the way to break
the Chinese peoples’ submissive habit and to stand up
for their rights without fear of violence.
On April 25, 1999, over ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners
went to the State Council in Beijing to request an end to the
increased harassment by the public security bureau, and
requesting the release of 45 practitioners arrested in Tianjin.
According to Ms. Liu, a university teacher in Beijing, at 6 am
Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the petition office and were
led by police to go from north to south along Fuyou Street.
They encountered another group of Falun Gong practitioners
led by police to go from south to north, and there ended up
being so many people that the two groups merged.
They waited there quietly, and some practitioners even
cleaned up the cigarette butts left by police.
Then-Premier Zhu Rongji showed up calling a meeting
with Falun Gong representatives.
Zhu promised to release the practitioners who
were arrested in Tianjin.
He also promised Falun Gong practitioners’
practice environment would no longer be disturbed.
Later Falun Gong practitioners quietly left the scene.
Hua Po, Beijing current affairs observer:
“My home was close to Zhongnanhai.
I rode a bike over there after I heard about the news.
I saw many people.
I was told that they were Falun Gong practitioners.
I could see they were very disciplined and calm, even silent.
They stood along the sidewalk without
disturbing the people passing by.”
Hu Jun, founder of Human Rights Campaign in China:
“I was amazed by the scene.
So many people appeared at the same time in Zhongnanhai to
request that their rights be honored, I felt China has a hope.”
Two days later, there was no official coverage
for the “4.25 incident”.
On April 27, Xinhua news agency circulated a notice
issued by the central government, saying that Falun Gong
practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai.
It also said health practices of any kind
have never been prohibited by any level of government.
Many Western media have reported that Falun Gong
practitioners’ petition was the largest appeal since June 4, 1989.
Falun Gong’s appeal was the most peaceful and rational appeal
in the Chinese history.
However, former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin
was angry about the incident.
He ordered to implement a suppression of Falun Gong,
He accused Zhu Rongji of handling the incident too softly.
Since then, media reports changed tune from previously calling
it a “gathering around Zhongnanhai” to “a siege of Zhongnanhai”.
Police in each city began harassing Falun Gong exercise sites.
Falun Gong practitioners who went to appeal would be taken
away and detained by their local police.
Hu Jun: “In ancient China, if civilians had been mistreated,
they could stop an official on the road, or beat a drum outside
a court to let their injustice be heard.
There was a drum specially placed outside
the court for civilians to use.
Nowadays, petitioning is completely blocked, furthermore,
the regime established an appeals office for petitioners,
but when petitioners go there they’re arrested.”
In each of the CCP’s past political movements, many talented
people were destroyed and persecuted to death.
Not only was there nobody who dared appeal for mistreatment,
but their relatives had to make a clear stance to denounce them.
In recent years, more and more civilians have stood up
to appeal for their mistreatment.
Huang Qi, founder of human rights website 64tianwang.com,
says that citizens were very shocked
when they saw Falun Gong practitioners appealing at the time.
It takes a very long time to learn the way to peacefully appeal.
Huang Qi: “In this century, the mass appeal started from
Falun Gong practitioners’ appealing to major organs in Beijing.
Later, the suppression of petitioners lasted a long time,
and it stopped for a while.
In 2003, farmers whose lands were seized and demolished
also went to Beijing to appeal.
After they were beaten and detained many times,
farmers started to appeal in groups.”
According to Jiang Zemin’s works, 2nd book, On the evening
of April 25, Jiang wrote letters to members of the politburo
standing committee and other CCP leaders.
He gave the order to “completely eliminate Falun Gong,” and
said, “I just don’t believe that the CCP can’t beat Falun Gong.”
On June 10, 1999, Jiang set up the 610-Office, specifically to
lead the suppression of Falun Gong.
He used all his power to suppress Falun Gong.
Zhong Weiguang, Germany-based political scientist:
“This kind of suppression of petition, to the international range,
to any legitimacy country, or to the CCP’s own claims, is illegal.”
15 years have passed, and Falun Gong practitioners still
clarify the truth in different part of the world, using peaceful
and rational means to go against the CCP’s brutal genocide.
Interview & Edit/Liuhui Post-Production/Zhoutian