His lips were streaked with dried blood. His chest was covered with bruises and scars, his legs battered.
Footage of a 30-year-old man’s corpse, recently circulated on Twitter and confirmed by The Epoch Times, offered a glimpse of what had happened to him in a Chinese jail cell.
Pang Xun, a Falun Gong practitioner, died in the early morning of Dec. 2, 2022, while serving a prison sentence for his belief in southwestern China, according to a person close to the man. Pang was arrested in July 2020 for his faith in Falun Gong, the person added.
Relatives of Pang, a radio host, are demanding authorities of the prison in Leshan city of Sichuan Province to explain the cause of their loved one’s death and allow them to conduct an independent autopsy, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of the communist regime’s retaliation.
The prison’s officials attributed the young man’s death to hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much hormones, the person said. The Leshan prison couldn’t be reached for comment despite repeated calls.
But given the many bruises covering Pang’s body, that claim appears to have convinced nobody.
“My friend was beaten to death in the Chinese Communist Party’s prison. He was Pang Xun, 30, a very sunny and handsome young man,” a user recently said on Twitter, with a video of Pang’s body.
“He was detained because he practiced Falun Gong …. this is by no means a reason for the Chinese Communist Party to kill him!”
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice consisting of moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, along with a set of meditative exercises. Since its introduction in China in 1992, the practice has attracted individuals from all walks of life—from high-ranking officials to rural villagers—leading to an estimated 70 million to 100 million adherents across the country by the end of the decade.
Its surging popularity, however, was deemed by the communist regime as a threat to its control over society. In 1999, then-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin ordered a sweeping campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, resulting in millions of practitioners being thrown in detention facilities, where they are brainwashed, tortured, or even killed for their organs.
Sudden Death and Autopsy Demands
After more than two decades of persecution, the abuses have not abated. Last year, at least 7,331 Falun Gong adherents were harassed, arrested, or detained in various facilities, leading to 172 deaths, according to Minghui, a U.S.-based website dedicated to documenting the persecution of Falun Gong. But that figure is likely only the tip of the iceberg, given the heavy censorship in China.
At around 8 a.m. local time on Dec. 2, 2022, Pang’s parents received a call: their imprisoned son was in critical condition, the person recounted.
But less than two hours later, as Pang’s relatives were rushing to the Sichuan prison that is over 500 miles from their home in Hunan Province, they were informed Pang had died, the person said.
With this sudden death, Pang’s relatives and friends became suspicious, given Pang was in good health before his imprisonment.
“Pang Xun must have been beaten because massive bruises were visible during the last visit,” the person recounted how Peng looked during a visit to the prison six months before his death.
Pang’s family personally asked a forensic odontologist from Beijing to accompany them to the prison. But on Dec. 3, when they finally arrived in Leshan city, the prison authorities refused to allow the odontologist to see Pang’s body, the person said.
Moreover, officials told them that Pang must be cremated in 10 days, the person added.
Pang’s parents and aunt, who managed to examine Pang’s remains, were stunned to find a large number of sores on his chest, shoulder, back, waist, and legs. “Pang Xun’s body, just as the video shows, was covered with bruises,” the person said.
“Of course, the families would demand an explanation,” the source said. Pang’s relatives wouldn’t cremate Pang before they got an independent autopsy, the person said, adding they have sought help from human rights lawyers.
Pang worked as a host at Sichuan Radio And Host, a local radio station, after graduating from the Communication University of China, the country’s top broadcasting college.
“He is very pure and sunny,” said the person, who knew Pang from college. The person emphasized that Pang was unlike what the CCP’s propaganda had claimed.
The CCP launched a far-reaching propaganda campaign aimed at demonizing Falun Gong and enlisting the Chinese public’s support for the persecution. The disinformation was typically spread through the education system and state media.
To counteract the regime’s pervasive smear efforts, Falun Gong practitioners formed a massive grassroots resistance effort to expose the persecution of the spiritual practice. The peaceful resistance involves distributing informational materials about the practice and the persecution and speaking directly to citizens.
In July 2020, when Pang was putting up informational posters with another Falun Gong practitioner, an elderly lady, the police spotted them through surveillance cameras, the person said.
On July 27, Pang was arrested, according to the person and a report on Minghui.
Pang was later sentenced to five years in prison and was sent to Leshan’s Jiazhou Prison, one the country’s most brutal prisons for Falun Gong adherents, the report said.
Previous reports on the website painted a portrait of appalling conditions at Jiazhou Prison. Former prisoners of conscience said they were frequently beaten, suffered electronic shocks, forced to stand over 12 hours a day for several days, and given less than 15 seconds to consume meals. The guards would also spray pepper water into their noses and eyes and stop them from washing their faces afterward.
On Feb. 12, a close friend of Pang shared on Twitter photos of the young man teaching children in a class. “He is the simplest and kindest person I know,” he said.
“Sadly, his young life forever ended in early December, in the CCP prison,” he said.
Pang’s ordeal ignited outage online.
“It’s tragic. [The CCP] treats people like dirt. Who dares to be sure that this kind of tragedy will not happen to us? The more I think about it, the more scared I get,” a Twitter user said.
Gu Xiaohua contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times