Colonel Gong Piqi, former deputy chief of staff of the Shandong Provincial Reserve Artillery Division, was one of the highest-profile Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. He was born in Qingdao, Shandong, in 1955.
His brilliant military career came to a halt when the CCP discovered that Gong was a Falun Gong practitioner. He was forced to retire, deprived of his salary, dispossessed of his home, and his children were expelled from school.
On May 13, 2005, he and his wife were arrested by the Qingdao police. His wife was sentenced to five years in jail under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code. Gong was sentenced to five and a half years. When he was released, in 2013, he reported that he had been systematically tortured.
While keeping a low profile, he still practiced Falun Gong privately. In 2017, however, he went to visit a 70-year-old friend called Su Guiha, who was also a Falun Gong practitioner, and kept under surveillance as such. Gong was arrested again on October 17, 2017. His arrest was formalized on November 24, 2017 by the Procuratorate of the North District of Qingdao, and he was detained at the Qingdao City Jimo Pudong Detention Center.
On May 24, 2018, his case was tried by the Qingdao City North District Court, and on July 20 of the same year, he was sentenced to another 7 years and 6 months of imprisonment and a fine of RMB 20,000 for “using a xie jiao,” again under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code. He appealed to the Qingdao Intermediate Court, to no avail.
On the evening of April 12, 2021, his family received an unexpected phone call from Jinan Prison in Shandong Province. They told him Colonel Gong had experienced a “sudden cerebral hemorrhage” and has been moved to Jinan Central Hospital, but had eventually died there.
His family and friends went to the hospital. They were initially prevented from seeing Colonel Gong’s body. A few relatives finally managed to see the corpse, and found obvious signs of torture. They found the usual explanation that Gong died of “natural causes” unbelievable.