April 25 Annual Commemoration in Hong Kong Spotlights Peace and Courage of Falun Gong Adherents

Despite a limit on public gatherings that are part of Zero-COVID measures, Hong Kong, as in previous years, saw a commemoration of the April 25, 1999 Peaceful Appeal, that showed the courage of Falun Gong adherents in their efforts to stop the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of their faith.Falun Gong adherents held yellow banners with eye-catching red and blue words that said, “Commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal by over 10,000 Falun Dafa Practitioners,” and “Be Steadfast in the Belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.” One of the banners held by Falun Dafa adherents in Hong Kong on April 25, 2022 to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the April 25 appeal in Beijing.(Courtesy of Minghui.org) This is a fairly small-scale event due to Hong Kong capping the number of participants in a public gathering to four people or less. But size didn’t detract from the solemn commemoration, “the April 25 peaceful appeal holds great historic significance as it showcased Falun Gong adherents’ calm and peaceful efforts to call for an end to the persecution,” said an event participant. Falun Gong, also named Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline espousing the three principles  of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It is practised and respected in more than 100 countries around the world, with the exception of mainland China, where the CCP’s suppression that began in 1999 continues to this day. On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong adherents went to the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing, to call on the authorities to protect people’s constitutional right to freedom of belief. The event was later seen as the largest mass appeal in China since the 1989 pro-democracy movement. The peace and rationality of the participants during the event were recognized by international society. However, a few months later, then leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution of Falun Gong followers. Thus, the appeal was subsequently labeled “a siege” by the media propaganda machine, adding to the regime’s justification for its egregious crackdown on Falun Gong that began on July 20 that year. Hong Kong Falun Gong adherent Ms. Zhou, who was living in Shenzhen city in southern China, recalled that she went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing in November 1999 and was arrested immediately after she raised a banner with the words “Falun Dafa Is Righteous.” The following day, she was sent back to Hong Kong. Ms. Zhou recalled that some Hong Kong citizens were misled by the CCP’s propaganda at the time, and she tried to tell them what was in her heart. “Falun Dafa practitioners were not against the government. They were just expressing their thoughts … Allowing people who are being treated unfairly to speak about it is very normal, but under the CCP regime, no one is allowed to speak.” But not everyone believed the CCP’s lies, even on the mainland, “Many policemen understood the truth and knew that Falun Dafa teaches people to be good. Some of them did not want to arrest practitioners.” Ms. Wu, another follower in Hong Kong, said she hopes the commemoration event will encourage those Falun Dafa adherents in China who live under the persecution and will let people know about the CCP’s continued clampdown on Falun Dafa. Falun Gong adherents outside China hold assemblies or parades to mark the anniversary of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal each year. Around 1,000 Falun Gong adherents from Hong Kong and nearby areas gathered at Edinburgh Place, a public square in Central Hong Kong, on April 27, 2019, to commemorate a peaceful appeal that took place in Beijing in 1999. At the rally, Falun Gong adherents called for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Courtesy of Minghui.org) CCP in Hong Kong In the last couple of years, assemblies and parades were rare in Hong Kong because of strict compliance to the National Security Law in 2020 and COVID-19 infection containment practices in 2021. On June 4, 2021, a candlelight vigil remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, which was held in Victoria Park every year since 1990, was banned by Hong Kong police on the grounds of epidemic curbs, but many media, including a BBC report on June 3, 2021, said it might be linked to the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong. Falun Gong has been subjected to harassment by various CCP organizations and mouthpieces in Hong Kong, the most notorious being the Hong Kong Youth Care Association Limited (HKYCA), a peripheral organization of the “610 office”—a Gestapo-like body formed solely to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong. HKYCA disregards local laws and regulations and blatantly harasses Falun Gong practitioners, residents, and tourists. A number of HKYCA’s members have allegedly been involved in cases of personal attack and intentional injury, according to a report on Minghui.org on April 30, 2018. April 25 Peaceful Appeal On April 25, 1999, mor

April 25 Annual Commemoration in Hong Kong Spotlights Peace and Courage of Falun Gong Adherents

Despite a limit on public gatherings that are part of Zero-COVID measures, Hong Kong, as in previous years, saw a commemoration of the April 25, 1999 Peaceful Appeal, that showed the courage of Falun Gong adherents in their efforts to stop the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of their faith.

Falun Gong adherents held yellow banners with eye-catching red and blue words that said, “Commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal by over 10,000 Falun Dafa Practitioners,” and “Be Steadfast in the Belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.”

Epoch Times Photo
One of the banners held by Falun Dafa adherents in Hong Kong on April 25, 2022 to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the April 25 appeal in Beijing.(Courtesy of Minghui.org)

This is a fairly small-scale event due to Hong Kong capping the number of participants in a public gathering to four people or less.

But size didn’t detract from the solemn commemoration, “the April 25 peaceful appeal holds great historic significance as it showcased Falun Gong adherents’ calm and peaceful efforts to call for an end to the persecution,” said an event participant.

Falun Gong, also named Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline espousing the three principles  of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It is practised and respected in more than 100 countries around the world, with the exception of mainland China, where the CCP’s suppression that began in 1999 continues to this day.

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong adherents went to the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing, to call on the authorities to protect people’s constitutional right to freedom of belief.

The event was later seen as the largest mass appeal in China since the 1989 pro-democracy movement. The peace and rationality of the participants during the event were recognized by international society.

However, a few months later, then leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution of Falun Gong followers. Thus, the appeal was subsequently labeled “a siege” by the media propaganda machine, adding to the regime’s justification for its egregious crackdown on Falun Gong that began on July 20 that year.

Hong Kong Falun Gong adherent Ms. Zhou, who was living in Shenzhen city in southern China, recalled that she went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing in November 1999 and was arrested immediately after she raised a banner with the words “Falun Dafa Is Righteous.” The following day, she was sent back to Hong Kong.

Ms. Zhou recalled that some Hong Kong citizens were misled by the CCP’s propaganda at the time, and she tried to tell them what was in her heart. “Falun Dafa practitioners were not against the government. They were just expressing their thoughts … Allowing people who are being treated unfairly to speak about it is very normal, but under the CCP regime, no one is allowed to speak.” But not everyone believed the CCP’s lies, even on the mainland, “Many policemen understood the truth and knew that Falun Dafa teaches people to be good. Some of them did not want to arrest practitioners.”

Ms. Wu, another follower in Hong Kong, said she hopes the commemoration event will encourage those Falun Dafa adherents in China who live under the persecution and will let people know about the CCP’s continued clampdown on Falun Dafa.

Falun Gong adherents outside China hold assemblies or parades to mark the anniversary of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal each year.

Epoch Times Photo
Around 1,000 Falun Gong adherents from Hong Kong and nearby areas gathered at Edinburgh Place, a public square in Central Hong Kong, on April 27, 2019, to commemorate a peaceful appeal that took place in Beijing in 1999. At the rally, Falun Gong adherents called for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)

CCP in Hong Kong

In the last couple of years, assemblies and parades were rare in Hong Kong because of strict compliance to the National Security Law in 2020 and COVID-19 infection containment practices in 2021.

On June 4, 2021, a candlelight vigil remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, which was held in Victoria Park every year since 1990, was banned by Hong Kong police on the grounds of epidemic curbs, but many media, including a BBC report on June 3, 2021, said it might be linked to the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong.

Falun Gong has been subjected to harassment by various CCP organizations and mouthpieces in Hong Kong, the most notorious being the Hong Kong Youth Care Association Limited (HKYCA), a peripheral organization of the “610 office”—a Gestapo-like body formed solely to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong.

HKYCA disregards local laws and regulations and blatantly harasses Falun Gong practitioners, residents, and tourists. A number of HKYCA’s members have allegedly been involved in cases of personal attack and intentional injury, according to a report on Minghui.org on April 30, 2018.

April 25 Peaceful Appeal

Epoch Times Photo
On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners petitioned the State Council’s letter and petition office in Beijing. The large group of participants was orderly, calm, and peaceful. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)

On April 11, 1999, scientist He Zuoxiu published an article attacking Falun Gong in a magazine of the Tianjin Institute of Education. Falun Gong adherents in Tianjin asked the magazine to make a public correction of the article’s distorted representation of their faith.

A large number of riot police in Tianjin assaulted Falun Gong adherents at a sit-in at the education institute and arrested 45 of them on April 23, 1999. A city official said that the Ministry of Public Security had intervened and suggested that Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to resolve the issue.

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong adherents exercised their constitutional right to make an appeal to the State Council’s petition office. Five of them, acting as representatives, entered the State Council asking for the release of the arrested practitioners, a redress of the ban on Falun Gong books, and an end to government harassment of the practice.

Then-Premier Zhu Rongji met with adherents and agreed to honor their requests.

Falun Gong attendees were calm throughout the event and left quietly after the Tianjin practitioners were released.

Minghui.org contribute to this article

Hank Han

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