(Minghui.org) A march for Falun Gong was held near the Asakusa Kannon Temple, a famous tourist spot in Tokyo, on April 16, 2017, to commemorate the upcoming 18th anniversary of the April 25 Peaceful Appeal, and raise awareness of the persecution of the meditation practice in China.
On April 25, 1999, approximately 10,000 practitioners peacefully appealed to the Chinese government in Beijing after the illegal arrests of fellow practitioners in Tianjin City. Three months later the campaign of human rights abuses officially began.
The event in Tokyo started with an exercise demonstration in the morning at a local park. The march was led by the local Tian Guo Marching Band, founded ten years ago by Falun Gong practitioners.
The march attracted many tourists, and also reminded many Chinese of the appeal 18 years prior, which marked the beginning of Falun Gong’s courageous peaceful resistance against the Communist Party’s persecution.
A group of practitioners passed out materials during the march and talked to spectators on the street, informing them about the persecution and what Falun Gong is. Many tourists signed a petition to support Falun Gong.
One gentleman said he used to live in Shanghai, and was well aware of the persecution. “The suppression of belief is insane,” he said. “You have done a great job raising awareness.”
Mr. Hiragana, a Japanese businessman, said to practitioners, “I went to Beijing last year. One of my Chinese friends told me his wife was arrested because of her Falun Gong belief. She has been jailed for five years.”
“My friend supports Falun Gong and loves his wife. I was very sad to see his family suffer. This persecution must be stopped.”
After the march, practitioners assembled at Sumidagawa, and took a group photo to send greetings to Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, for the upcoming World Falun Dafa Day (May 13) and the 25th anniversary of the public introduction of the practice in China.
On April 23-24, 1999, police officials in Tianjin, a city near Beijing, assaulted and arrested dozens of Falun Gong practitioners who had gathered outside a magazine office to discuss errors in a recently-published article attacking Falun Gong. As word spread of the arrests and more Falun Gong practitioners inquired with officials, they were told they had to take their appeals to Beijing. The following day, April 25, some 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners spontaneously gathered at the central appeals office in Beijing, as they had been instructed by Tianjin officials. The gathering was peaceful and orderly. Several Falun Gong representatives were called in to meet with Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji, and members of his staff. That evening, the concerns of Falun Gong practitioners were addressed, the arrested practitioners in Tianjin were released, and everyone went home.
Related article in Chinese: http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2017/4/21/“四二五”前-日本学员反迫害游行-民众支持（图）-345907.html
Stories of Falun Gong Practitioners 法轮功学员的故事