30-Year-Old Falun Gong Practitioner Beaten to Death in Prison, Tweet on Death Goes Viral
(Updated on February 18, 2023 with additional reporting from Radio Free Asia and comments from the State Department.)
The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned that Mr. Pang Xun (庞勋), a former host of Sichuan People’s Radio, was beaten to death in Leshan Jiazhou Prison (乐山嘉州监狱) and died on December 2, 2022. Pang was jailed for his faith in Falun Gong and was 30 years old at the time of death.
David Curry, a commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, responded to Pang Xun’s death by stating, “We condemn the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and urge the U.S. government to impose sanctions, including multilateral targeted sanctions in coordination with like-minded international partners, on Chinese officials and entities responsible for these horrific abuses.”
On February 11, a close friend of Pang’s from college posted a graphic video on Twitter showing markings on his corpse. In the tweet, the friend, who has 135,000 followers, wrote, “[Pang Xun] was a very sunny and handsome young man. He was the purest and kindest person I knew. The reason for his arrest was that Pang (and his family) practiced Falun Gong. Although I don’t practice Falun Gong, this is by no means a reason for the CCP to kill him!” The post has since been shared over 700 times and garnered over half a million views, as of February 14, 2023.
Chinese authorities claim that Pang died from hyperthyroidism during his detention, but severe bruising on his body points to abuse in custody. Family and friends report Pang was in good health prior to his detention.
The injuries on Pang Xun’s body appear to be electric baton marks, bruises, and binding marks. On December 3, a forensic doctor the family hired was prevented from entering the mortuary to see his corpse.
Leshan Jiazhou Prison authorities told Pang Xun’s family that his body must be cremated before December 13, but his mother refused. In the end, the prison agreed to an autopsy, but insisted the medical examiner be affiliated with the prison.
Contacts inside Chengdu note that Pang Xun may have been under surveillance before his initial arrest. On Sunday, July 26, 2020, Pang Xun heard a stranger knocking on his door but didn’t open the door. Soon after, the manager of his office abruptly called and asked him to come to the office immediately. Pang Xun felt something was wrong and excused himself from going. Later that day, there was a second knock on the door and someone claimed that water was leaking in the building. The power in his apartment was then cut off and Pang heard someone in the hallway monitoring his home.
On that same day, the police raided the home of his friend and fellow Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Wang Youping, and arrested her. Pang Xun visited local community centers together with Wang to distribute Falun Gong flyers on at least one occasion. Ms. Wang, in her fifties, was formerly the division-level cadre at the Chengdu Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs.
On Monday, July 27, 2020, when he was on his way to work, Pang Xun was arrested. He was then sentenced to five years in prison for his faith in Falun Gong.
Pang Xun died as a result of police beatings on December 2, 2022. Pang Xun’s friend told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that, “Pang Xun was definitely assaulted [in prison], because I saw bruises on his body when I visited him six months ago.” His friend also commented that each time Pang’s mother saw him in prison, she noticed fresh bruises on his face and neck. “Did they beat you?” she would ask, and Pang in response would try to cheer her up, telling her: “It’s all nothing. I can withstand anything.”
Pang’s friend noted on Twitter that when he heard Pang was sentenced to five years in prison, “I was still thinking that if one day he could go abroad, I would do my best to help him apply for asylum and come to the free world. It is a pity that his young life was forever stopped in the CCP prison in early December.”
Practitioners have been tortured to death almost every year at Jiazhou Prison. But as with Pang Xun’s case, the prison usually tells the practitioner’s family that they died of a stroke or other natural causes, without any further explanation. Other documented deaths at Leshan Jiazhou Prison include:
- Mr. Luo Xuefang, who died in prison in early April 2020 while serving a seven-year term at the age of 67. While the prison claimed that Mr. Luo passed away after suffering a stroke, his family suspect that he died due to torture.
- On September 5, 2018, Officer Shao took Sun Renzhi somewhere without surveillance cameras and sprayed pepper spray directly into Sun’s face. Sun was also subject to abuse by inmates, who poured boiling water on his skin and routinely assaulted him. In 2020, Sun Renzhi was released with emaciated health and passed away on June 25, 2022 from the injuries he sustained in prison.
- Mr. Cheng Huaigen was kidnapped, illegally sentenced to four years at Leshan Jiazhou Prison, where he was persecuted to death on May 29, 2017, at the age of 54.
- Mr. Chen Guangzhong, died less than six months after he was sent to Jiazhou Prison. A prison guard told his older brother that Mr. Chen had a cerebral hemorrhage, but that it was too late for surgery. Mr. Chen passed away on July 28, 2017.
Pang Xun’s death brings the number of documented Falun Gong practitioner deaths due to persecution to 4,906. In 2022, 112 such cases took place. Another untold number of Falun Gong practitioners, likely hundreds of thousands, have been killed through forced organ harvesting.
The Department of State commented on Pang’s case below and reaffirmed that the department “continues to consider all appropriate tools to promote accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in the PRC and elsewhere.”
We call on the Chinese government to, immediately, stop the abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners, release those imprisoned for their beliefs, and give the whereabouts of the missing practitioners.