Beijing Resident Who Garnered International Attention Sentenced to Third Term

Family photo of Mr. Pang You (right) with his wife and son

Family photo of Mr. Pang You (right) with his wife and son

Mr. Pang You, a Beijing resident in his 60s, was sentenced to one year and three months in July 2023, his third prison term for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. Reports of his sentence were first documented by Minghui and Weiquanwang (Rights Protection Network). He has since been hospitalized due to declining health in custody.

The leaflets Pang was sentenced for distributing are part of Falun Gong practitioner’s broader information campaign. This awareness raising generally addresses four key areas: debunking the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) demonizing narratives about Falun Gong, exposing the rights abuses perpetrated against practitioners, contextualizing the persecution within the CCP’s history of atrocities, and encouraging people to quit the Party, separating themselves from its crimes.

Pang’s latest sentencing was preceded by two prior prison terms for allegedly distributing DVDs and other materials related to Falun Gong. During his previous two terms, Mr. Pang You’s story was featured in Los Angeles Times, The Epoch Times, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Freedom House, and the Human Rights Law Foundation.

Pang first gained renown domestically through his career as a city planning office director and real estate company manager. In 2015, his case became known internationally after over 1,000 Beijing residents petitioned for Pang’s release from unlawful detention.

Pang is currently in custody at Beijing Police Hospital due to his declining health as of November 1, 2023.

Fingerprints on petitions calling for Pang You’s release (2015)

Freedom of Expression Punished

On April 30, 2022, an anonymous source reported Pang You for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. Two days later, Pang was arrested. Police confiscated his personal belongings including multiple Falun Gong books, cell phones, and a media player. Authorities took Pang You to detention, but the detention center refused to accept him due to his poor health. On May 3, Pang You was released on bail.

Nearly three months later, on July 28, 2022, Mr. Pang was arrested again and taken back into custody to the Changping District Detention Center. It is unclear if this arrest was related to the previous one in May.

Mr. Pang’s lawyer was informed on November 7, 2022 that police submitted his case to the Changping District Procuratorate. He was indicted in early January 2023. The Changping District Court judge ordered Pang attend a virtual hearing on July 3, 2023, from his hospital room. His lawyer joined the session remotely from the courthouse.

According to Pang’s family, the lawyer said Pang’s health had deteriorated and he was unable to walk by himself. Before his official hearing on July 3, Pang required the assistance of a wheelchair to meet with his lawyer.

In late July, Pang You was sentenced to one year and three months.

Health in Decline

Due to a combination of Pang You’s diabetes and the abuse he suffered in previous sentences, he has been repeatedly hospitalized since his first sentence in 2000. Pang was transferred to Beijing Police Hospital in early September 2022.

Through a phone call to his family, Changping District Detention Center authorities alleged Pang’s feet became swollen and suppurated due to diabetes. The caller did not comment on any mistreatment or torture potentially faced by Pang within the detention period. In previous sentences, Pang You faced twelve years of abuse in custody, including torture with electric batons, sleep deprivation, force-feedings, etc.

Upon his hospitalization in September, Pang was additionally diagnosed with heart and kidney failure, and serious edema below the hip bones. He is also suffering from further diabetic complications, including pus discharge from his feet.