Falun Gong practitioners held a candlelight vigil from 5:30pm to 8:10pm in Sydney’s Town Hall on Sunday 24th April, 2016, to mark 17 years since the “25th April” appeal in Beijing.
In yellow jackets and hats, the practitioners sat in peaceful meditation and held banners, to raise awareness about the ongoing 17-year persecution of Falun Gong in China.
17 years ago this day (April 25th, 1999), more than 10,000 Falun gong practitioners gathered outside China’s central leadership compound in Beijing. They had come to appeal at China’s central appeals office, for their fellow practitioners who had been abused in the city of Tianjin, for their books, which had been banned, and for practitioners all over the country who were being harassed and investigated by the police.
They were met by the Chinese premier, and the arrested practitioners were released. It seemed like the appeal had been successful. But in reality, time was running out, and the brutal crackdown was getting closer and closer…
The event attracted close interest and were praised internationally, but received the jealousy and slander of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, setting the stage for the persecution which continues to this day. (Jiang Zemin ordered the persecution of Falun Gong back in July 20th, 1999).
- Short documentary about the April 25th appeal.
- Witness account of the April 25th peaceful demonstration.
Passersby stopped to learn more about the issue and offered help by signing a petition.
Sydney practitioners still have family members who are still being detained in China because of their belief. One example is of Jia Ye, whose family members have not seen him for 15+ years. (More info: Husband of Australian Resident: Three Arrests and Eight Years of Imprisonment… for Meditation)
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice involving gentle exercises and meditation, as well as following the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. It was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi and has since spread to more than 100 countries around the world. More about Falun Gong here.
In July 20th, 1999, the then-Chinese Communist Party Leader Jiang Zemin ordered the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, which continues to this day. More about the persecution here.