United States: Practitioners Commemorate the April 25th Appeal in Houston, Texas

On April 24th, 2009, Falun Gong practitioners in Houston rallied in front of the Chinese Consulate to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the April 25th appeal. On April 25th, 1999, ten thousands Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appealed in Beijing to request that they be allowed to practise without harassment.

Houston Falun Gong practitioners commemorate the tenth anniversary of the April 25th appeal
Ms. Guo gives a speech

Rally in front of the Chinese Embassy

At 1 p.m. on April 24th, 2009, practitioners held a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy. The visa office was open, and long line of people were waiting for visas. Most of them were Chinese. Practitioners distributed flyers and newspapers to them. They held banners worded "Falun Dafa, Truth-Compassion-Forbearance" and "SOS, Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong." They gave several speeches. Those who participated in the April 25th appeal recalled the actual event. Some practitioners recounted the journey of the past ten years of explaining the fact and protesting the CCP persecution peacefully and rationally. They played a video of the "Nine Commentaries on Communist Party." People waiting for visas and passersby all took note of the activities.

Recalling the April 25th appeal

A practitioner from China recalled her mother's account of the unlawful arrests of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin in April 1999, the impetus for the April 25th appeal in Beijing. She said, "On April 11th, 1999, Tianjin College of Education published in its journal an article by He Zuoxiu that slandered and defamed Falun Gong. Some Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin thought it was necessary to clarify the issue to those responsible for publishing the article. They wanted to talk to the editorial staff of the journal to minimise the negative impact of the article. So, from April 18th to 24th, several practitioners went to the college and the editorial offices to explain the facts. My mother heard the news and went to the college on April 23rd and 24th. She and others peacefully practiced the exercises outside the college. It was a peaceful demonstration, but the police illegally arrested 45 practitioners.

"Tianjin police beat the practitioners until they bled. Some were seriously injured. When other practitioners asked for their release, the Tianjin police suggested, 'Go to Beijing. Only the central government can solve the issue.' The escalation of the persecution caught the attention of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin and other places. They went to Beijing to the Appeals Office of the State Council to seek a peaceful solution of the Tianjin incident."

Helen, another practitioner from China, told about her experiences in Tianjin. She said, "Ten years ago, I was a senior undergraduate student in Tianjin and ready to graduate. I saw the article slandering Falun Gong. I talked with other practitioners on campus and we thought this article was not based on facts. A dozen students, including me, wrote a letter to the journal and explained the facts of Falun Gong.

"Later we went to Tianjin College of Education, where the journal editorial office was located, to appeal on April 23, 1999. When we arrived, many Falun Gong practitioners were already there. They stood or sat quietly. A few practitioners explained the facts in the journal's editorial office. In the evening, a few other students and I returned to our school. Several others who had their homes in Tianjin decided to stay and wait for the results. The next day, one student returned to school and told us that the police had used force to arrest practitioners the night before. Some of them were thrown onto a truck while they were sitting cross-legged. From a local student we learned that those practitioners were beaten and shocked with electric batons in the police station. Many were unlawfully detained. Later, we heard about the April 25th appeal. Falun Gong practitioners from various places went to Beijing the Appeal Office of the State Council to request the release of the Tianjin Falun Gong practitioners being detained."

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