Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on April 26th, 2007, that Falun Gong practitioners in Los Angeles gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate on the evening of April 25th to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the "April 25th Peaceful Appeal."
From the time that the Chinese Communist regime began the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999 up until today, Falun Gong practitioners have gone through a difficult time, but overseas practitioners still condemn the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and clarify the facts through various channels in order to support attorney Gao Zhisheng in Mainland China and continue to strive for an environment for practitioners inside China to practise freely. April 25th eight years ago is considered by Falun Gong practitioners as the historic starting point for their peaceful resistance.
Practitioner: "On April 25th, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appealed near Zhongnanhai [the headquarters of the central government in Beijing]. They asked for an environment in which to practise peacefully. They knew what kind of regime they faced. This regime once used tanks and scatter-guns to deal with ordinary people. Many people thought that Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful appeal amounted to using an egg against a stone. But practitioners had a simple thought: they only wanted to be able to practise freely and with dignity."
Practitioner: "From April 25th to July 20th, 1999, the persecution escalated. [As of today,] more than 3,000 practitioners have died as a result of the persecution, but Falun Gong practitioners remain steadfast. About 80 practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the tightly-closed gate of the Chinese Consulate to convey their ideas by speaking out and practising the sitting meditation."
Practitioner: "Many Chinese compatriots, especially university students in 1977 and 1978 after Deng Xiaoping started the reform and opening up to the outside world, myself included. We still held some illusions regarding the CCP. I came to the United States in 1989, and saw on the TV news of the "June 4th Incident" on Tiananmen Square every day. I saw that the CCP used tanks and scatter-guns to deal with young students. Since then, I have completely lost hope for the CCP."
Falun Gong practitioners' commemorative activities on the eighth anniversary of the April 25th event gained support from overseas dissidents Wu Fan and Liu Yinquan.
Liu Yinquan: "This regime purports to be 'the people's government.' As a 'people's government', China's constitution clearly stipulates that 'citizens have freedom of religious belief.' Whether or not Falun Gong is a religious belief, what is wrong that the practitioners quest for freedom of belief?"
Practitioners displayed a banner reading, "Stop the Persecution." They also saluted attorney Gao Zhisheng across the ocean.
Wu Fan: "Gao Zhisheng could have received a long sentence. Why only three years? It shows that the CCP regime dare not sentence him heavily. Doesn't the regime flaunt itself as a harmonious society? Where is the harmony?"
Practitioner: "In the early stages, it was very difficult for one or two persons, because 'The gun shoots the birds that fly up first.' What is so remarkable about attorney Gao Zhisheng is that he still has the courage to stay in China while confronting so many barriers. With his encouragement, there will be a large number of lawyers of conscience standing up to defend disadvantaged groups. They are truly the hope of China's future."
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