July 20th Sixteen Years Ago

July 21, 2015 | By a Falun Gong practitioner from China

(Minghui.org) It was a hot and humid day, almost too muggy to breathe. My flight was late, and it was already 2 a.m. by the time I got to the hotel. All night I had the same dream, which seemed so real: Soldiers and policemen carrying guns patrolled the rooftops around Tiananmen Square, as we practitioners stood outside the square.

In the dream, I asked myself, “Shall I go? Am I afraid?” My rapid heartbeats in the dream were so real. I stepped forward in the dream.

I was calm when I woke up in the morning. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew what I should do. I told Hui, Fan, and Yang about my dream. We all smiled: “We must go today, just to speak up for justice for Falun Gong.”

After doing the exercises, it was 9:30. We four girls took a taxi to Tiananmen Square.

We didn’t know that July 20, 1999 would mark one of the darkest days in history. We didn’t know that it was the start of a campaign of brutal persecution. On this sinful day, which no one should forget, I witnessed compassion and evil, and peace and violence in the historic city of Beijing.

The taxi followed Chang’an Street to the east. All of sudden, we saw police cars everywhere. The street was blocked when we got to the Xidan area, so we turned north and drove towards the back gate of the Forbidden City. But we soon ran into more blockades.

We got out of the car and headed towards Tiananmen Square. Many people were walking with us. Most of them looked like farmers from the countryside. The crowd surged forward, and the atmosphere became tense. Groups of police officers were stopping people and asking questions.

Practitioners peacefully explained, in all kinds of accents, to the police why they were there—”To tell the central government that Falun Gong is good; we have all benefited from it; Please restore the reputation of Falun Gong.” The police yelled, cursed, and pushed them into endless lines of buses.

I wanted to say the same thing. I didn’t think about what might happen to me if I was pushed onto a bus. We did not stop, and continued forward. It was a long ten-minute journey. People around us were taken to the buses one by one. Fewer and fewer were left in front of us. Finally, we were stopped.

“What are you trying to do? Are you Falun Gong?”

“All of us are Falun Gong practitioners.” “We just want to tell the central government that Falun Gong teaches Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It is beneficial both physically and spiritually.”

“Look at you. You seem to be well-educated, and live a good life. Why do you practice Falun Gong?”

“Many Falun Gong practitioners are intellectuals. All of us went to college. You probably have misunderstandings about Falun Gong. It uplifts one’s mind.”

We were all taken to a bus full of practitioners from all over the country. Just to speak out from the bottom of our hearts, we had met here on this day.

The bus took us to an empty high school at 11 a.m. We were sent to different classrooms, each monitored by seven or eight police officers. TV sets broadcast the Chinese Central TV station’s propaganda at the maximum volume, attacking and slandering Falun Gong with the most vicious words and shameless lies. We were forced to watch and then write down our understandings of the propaganda.

Nobody who went to appeal for Falun Gong on Tiananmen Square that day expected this. The police were yelling at us. I asked myself: “What do I believe? Is my belief really wrong?” The answer was obvious to me: “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is not wrong. I have witnessed so many miracles among fellow practitioners. So many terminal incurable diseases were healed. There is nothing wrong with practicing Falun Gong.”

I wrote down what I honestly thought, and then I was put on a bus again.

We were taken to the Workers’ Stadium. Seven or eight buses full of practitioners were parked there. A policeman yelled into his radio: “It’s full here. Go somewhere else.” “What about Fengtai District?” a policeman in our bus asked. “It’s full, too. Try the Shijingshan District.”

At 2 p.m., we were taken to Shijingshan District Stadium, where we were split into groups based on our home provinces. We all sat on the lawn, with the police surrounding us.

The sun was right overhead. I looked around—the whole stadium, all the seats and the field, was full of practitioners from all over China. Men and women, seniors and youngsters. Some of the women carried babies or toddlers. I didn’t expect that so many people would come here to defend the reputation of Falun Gong with their compassion and sincerity.

We sat there quietly. Most of us were reading Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Gong. It was such a wonderful and peaceful scene. It seemed that everybody ignored the risks, the dangers, and the nervous policemen with guns.

Before dark, the high volume speakers in the stadium blasted the evil lies again. Out of nowhere, somebody started to recite Lunyu (the opening of Zhuan Falun). Everybody joined in. Our voices completely drowned out the speakers. With tears covering my face, I recited Lunyu loudly, again and again.

A policeman raised his baton and started to beat a practitioner. Other practitioners rushed over and covered the one being beaten with their own bodies, shouting, “Don’t beat him!” Other police officers came over with their batons and beat those practitioners.

One practitioner started to recite a poem by Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong:

“In life, nothing sought,
In death, regretting naught;
Washing away all wrong thought,
Buddhahood, with less adversity, is wrought.”

(“Nothing Kept” from Hong Yin)

Everybody echoed the lines. Their voices broke through the dark night and reached the top of the dome.

I wiped away my tears and joined in. At that moment, my life was uplifted. Life and death were beyond my consideration. I realized that, as a cultivator, my task is to protect the truth of the universe, in which my belief is solidly rooted.

Chinese version available

Category: Personal Accounts of Early Days

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