Shujing, a reporter from Houston for the Falun Gong website Clearwisom.net reported, "On April 25th, 1999, about ten thousand Falun Gong practitioner went to the National Appeals Office1 in Beijing to peacefully and rationally appeal for the freedom of belief. On the sixth anniversary of the April 25th Appeal, some practitioners discussed the effect that this event had on their lives."
Associate Professor and Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Feng of Baylor College of Medicine said, "Six years ago I immigrated to San Diego of the United States. At that time, I read an article, telling me that about ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners went to the National Appeals Office in Beijing to peacefully appeal on April 25th, 1999. I was really shocked by this news. I had grown up in China and understand the Chinese psyche very well. In China, even if you pay someone to demonstrate on Tiananmen Square or go to the National Appeals Office, you wouldn't find any takers. It is embedded in the Chinese psyche that their lives would be in immediate danger. No one would exchange her/his life for money.
"The important distinction comes from the fact that these Falun Gong practitioners went there to appeal for freedom of belief. They bravely stepped forward to clarify the truth. This was something that had never happened in all of China's history. They did not shout slogans, but just stood or sat there peacefully. I asked myself, 'What kind of inner strength helped these people to step forward?' This fact alone drove me to get to know more about Falun Dafa.
"I searched for information on Falun Gong. One day, I learnt that Falun Gong believed in 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' These three characters resonated in my heart. I believed that these three characters come from the highest realm of human beings. This appeal gave me new hope in China. Because of this, my husband and I began to practise Falun Gong."
Reporter: "It has been six years since the 'April 25 Appeal.' Can you tell me what is the most valuable lesson you have gained during your six years of practise."
Ms. Feng: "Great changes have taken place deep in my heart. An old Chinese saying goes, 'It's easy to change rivers and mountains but hard to change a person's nature.' Before practising Falun Gong I was very wilful and often at odds with my parents. I argued with my father and argued as much with my friends and colleagues. I had so many bad habits. After practising Falun Gong, I knew that I must let go of these bad habits. Therefore, I began to truly live by the principles of 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' I began truly to respect my parents. Our life became harmonious. My father said to me, 'I saw the changes in you after you practised Falun Gong. You are totally different now. Falun Gong is good.' I was no longer jealous of my colleagues and friends and I became tolerant. I learnt to think of others first. Such great changes were already found in me after a month of practising Falun Gong. Once my colleagues and friends saw these changes in me, they said admiringly, 'Falun Gong is good.' Some colleagues even began to practise Falun Gong. Now I can control myself, and I am more at peace with myself. My heart is tranquil and calm and I am really happy from deep within."
Reporter: "What do you think is the significance of the April 25 Appeal?"
Ms. Feng: "Some Westerners had a difficult time believing that there is no freedom of belief in China. They were deeply shocked by the April 25 Appeal. At last, the Chinese people stood up for the right to have their personal belief. This was the culmination of spiritual pursuit. The April 25 Appeal and the popularity of Falun Gong opened the Chinese people's eyes to what might be possible for them.
"Living by the principles 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance' is beneficial to all. Living by these principles improved the practitioners' health and taught them to become tolerant and to have righteous believe in divine beings. These principles help the practitioners to attain wisdom and opens higher realms of the mind. This is the return and the culmination of the spirit of the Chinese culture and civilisation.
"Yet, the Jiang faction used the communist party to crack down on Falun Gong. They were and are denigrating 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' Plainly put, this is equivalent to telling people, being evil is good and being good is evil. The Jiang regime's actions are going against moral standards accepted by mankind and a crime against humanity."
The reporter interviewed another practitioner named Vincent and asked him, "You became a Falun Gong practitioner after the persecution against Falun Gong began. What does the April 25 Appeal mean to you?"
Vincent: "I lived in a country bordering China. Over the last few decades, China has been ruled by a totalitarian regime, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. In that country people do not have freedom of belief, but are held in 'spiritual shackles.' China has used violent methods and brainwashing to stop people from having personal beliefs and thoughts. However, nothing can control or destroy the human spirit. The April 25 peaceful appeal was a clear indication that people should be given the freedom and right of belief. The April 25 Appeal gave people a ray of hope, telling them that the Chinese nation's moral standards were reborn. I have practised Falun Gong for only one year, but I have already benefited both physically and mentally. Before practising Falun Gong, I knew that the Chinese regime was suppressing Falun Gong, but this does not deter me from supporting 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' I want to become a better person. I believe in 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' Being able to practise these principles shows respect for my personal values and rights. I have the freedom and the right to belief. Nothing can take away this righteous belief and no violence whatsoever can destroy 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' The spirit of the April 25th Appeal will shine forever.
(1) The Appeals Office: This is a governmental agency mandated by the Chinese constitution. Citizens can bring their grievances before the staff of the Appeals Office and report cases of when local officials treated them unjustly.
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