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Peng Ming -- Photo: ChinaAid
Peng Ming
Photo: ChinaAid

Family members are demanding an independently conducted autopsy following the mysterious death of an imprisoned Christian and veteran human rights activist. Peng Ming, a pro-democracy dissident, known for establishing the China Development Union and publishing a work offering suggestions to China's development model (referred to as The Fourth Monument), allegedly fainted on November 29th while watching television. Subsequently, he was rushed to hospital.

Prison officials phoned his brother, who had visited Peng just three days before, relaying the shocking news to him. By the time the notified brother reached the hospital, Peng had already been declared dead and transferred to a funeral home.

However, authorities did not issue a death certificate, leaving the cause of his death unclear. As a result, Peng's family members have demanded an autopsy by an "international, independent medical authority acceptable to the family," and stated that a similar procedure conducted by the Chinese government will not be considered conclusive.

Following the government's ban on the China Development Union, Peng was sentenced to 18 months of re-education through labour on a charge unrelated to his political activities. In August of 2000, he was released and fled to Thailand, where he was granted refugee status until he was resettled in the United States a year later. There, he was baptized at a San Francisco church in July 2002.

When Peng returned to Thailand in 2004 to visit his aging parents, Chinese special agents devised a plan to lure him into Burma and abduct him back to China. Once he arrived in his homeland, he was charged with organizing and leading a terrorist organization, kidnapping and possessing counterfeit money. As a result, Peng was given a life sentence. Officials are now warning his overseas family members not to attend the funeral. To learn more about the persecution of believers in China, see our country report.

Pray that God will greatly comfort Peng's grieving family, and that their request for an independent autopsy will be respectfully honoured. May the realization that Peng is now in the presence of our loving Lord -- and, therefore, no longer suffering -- bring them great hope and consolation. It is our desire that Peng's testimony will be mightily used by the Lord to extend His Kingdom and glorify His name throughout the world.