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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Remembering the Largest Civil Movement Since Tiananmen:4.25.99 Falun Gong Appeal

A mass appeal, thirteen years of persecution and numerous lawsuits are all culminating in the current political struggle within China’s Communist Party. That was the message from a press conference by the Washington, DC Falun Dafa Association on Monday. It marks the 13th anniversary of the April 25th Appeal in 1999, which saw 10,000 Chinese citizens peacefully appeal in Beijing for their freedom of belief. Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual practice that teaches the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.” 
It grew hugely popular since first being taught to the public in 1992, but certain leaders within the Communist Party began fearing it could compete with its ideological viewpoints. In April 1999, a group of practitioners in Tianjin were beaten and arrested by police when they raised concerns over a magazine article that slandered Falun Gong. This led to the mass appeal on April 25.  The appeal was significant for several reasons. It was the largest citizen appeal in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest. The entire process was peaceful, but became a pretext for a 13-year long persecution. And, according to Jared Pearman, representative of the Falun Dafa Information Center, it ties into the current political struggle within the Communist Party. 
[Jared Pearman, Representative of the Falun Dafa Information Center]:
“Also, making today really important is that the people who used that appeal at Zhongnanhai really catalyzed the persecution against Falun Gong to twist the truth and create an architect this persecution that we see ongoing in China today are the same people that are at the center of this political scandal that we see in Beijing.”
Those individuals are Jiang Zemin, and his protégées, Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, among others.  Jiang launched the persecution against Falun Gong. He and other perpetrators, including Bo Xilai, have been sued overseas for torture and crimes against humanity. According to a US Embassy cable released by Wikileaks, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for the demotion of Bo Xilai from a prominent state-level position because of these lawsuits. Bo Xilai has now been removed from all his official positions, and China’s security czar Zhou Yongkang may be next. 
[Jared Pearman, Representative of the Falun Dafa Information Center]:
“All of these people were the core group of Chinese Communist Party leaders who orchestrated the persecution against Falun Gong. Today we can see that they’re the same people at the center for so much other corruption as well.” 
Terri Marsh, the human rights attorney who sued Bo Xilai and Jiang Zemin, expects more events to unfold.  
[Terri Marsh, Human Rights Attorney]:
“The entire team, the entire criminal enterprise is on the way out, in my opinion, and we will be bringing these people to justice in the United States, Hague and in China.”Around the world, Falun Gong practitioners are marking the April 25th appeal with continued calls for the end of the persecution. 
More at NTD News, Washington D.C.

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