The sight of 50 Falun Gong practitioners sitting quietly opposite the Chinese Embassy in London on April 25th 2004 was not a new one to many of the passers-by in London. The token police presence of one policeman showed how the authorities have learned to trust Falun Gong practitioners to be peaceful and orderly. In four years of appeals, practitioners conduct has always been peaceful, despite the fact that some have personally experienced torture by the Jiang regime or have friends and family who are persecuted in China.
The ability of practitioners to appeal en masse in a peaceful, orderly and dignified manner has become a characteristic feature of Falun Gong activities around the world since the beginning of the brutal persecution. The event outside of the Chinese Embassy in London, like many around the world that day, was to mark the most significant of such Falun Gong appeals, which occurred exactly five years ago in Beijing on 25th April 1999. The appeal had come following the harassment and unlawful arrest of Falun Gong practitioners in the city of Tianjin the previous day, when they had appealed to a magazine to withdraw a slanderous article about Falun Gong.
At the suggestion of the authorities, the next day, 10 000 practitioners had gathered outside of the central government compound in Zhongnanhai to appeal. The practitioners lined the streets in a peaceful and lawful manner. However, Jiang Zemin used this gathering of practitioners to try to convince the Ruling Party that Falun Gong was anti-government and should be eliminated. Jiang was reported to have said on that day, “Crush Falun Gong! Crush it! Crush it completely!” Deceitful claims were spread that the gathering in Zhongnanhai obstructed public law and order, and that it demonstrated Falun Gong practitioners’ anti-Government stance. Many of the high-ranking party officials did not agree with his position, as they knew the truth about Falun Gong, and it still took Jiang several months to eradicate internal opposition to his plans, before he was able to fully launch his persecution on July 20th 1999.
The event in London highlighted Jiang’s personal campaign to eradicate Falun Gong through a Symbolic Public Trial. Facing the Chinese Embassy, the message of the trial was clear and strong; the truth will be revealed and the lies exposed one by one, and those who participate in the persecution of Falun Gong will have to face the rule of law. The torture, brutality and deceit of the persecution were exposed in detail through factual witness testimonies. One testimony of the trial was given by Mr. He Bin who personally experienced persecution, torture and detention at the hands of the Jiang Regime in China.
Passers-by showed interest in the event, stopping to listen, to take leaflets and to talk with practitioners. Many people in passing open-top tourist buses were attracted by the sights and sounds of the event. Motorists and passengers wanted to know more, took leaflets, and watched and listened as they waited at the traffic lights just by the Embassy. Perhaps the most significant audience were those people in the Chinese Embassy and their countrymen in the public security department of China who will hear the news of the event. Watching the symbolic public trial, the future reality of how the guilty will be brought to trial and punished under international laws was almost tangible. As more and more people in China see that they are following the personal vendetta of one man who is soon to be found guilty of genocide under international laws, then fewer and fewer people will follow his Jiang’s evil dictates and the persecution will collapse.
Following the conclusion of the trial, the small choir of UK practitioners gathered to give a performance of the song “Coming for You”. The beautiful, heart-felt singing and the lovely harmonies were in sharp contrast with the torture, violence and deceit featured in the testimonies of the earlier trial. All of the practitioners present then gathered to sing “Falun Dafa Hao” together. The atmosphere was happy, light and peaceful.
A brief press conference was then held explaining the significance of the April 25th event and the significance of the lawsuits around the world. A speech was given by Lord Thurlow, who appealed for the international community to take steps to end this persecution. Lord Thurlow described how the restriction of foreign travel of those identified perpetrators is one method to put pressure on the partipants, and mentioned that a legal submission to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in this regard is currently being handled by a law firm on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners in the UK.
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