As the world celebrates the arrival of a new year, there are numerous prisoners of conscience languish in China’s prisons. Dr. Wang is one of them, incarcerated over a decade for devoting his life to the ideal of democracy for China, spurning a career in medicine in the United States.
Dr. Wang Bingzhang, founded the Chinese overseas democracy movement in 1982 from New York. His direct experience of the Chinese Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution and other political campaigns induced in him the dream of democracy and rule of law for the Chinese people. For almost 20 years, he dedicated himself to this cause, working with like-minded Chinese immigrants and expatriates.
In June 2002, during a visit to Vietnam, he was abducted into China by boat, beaten, blindfolded and gagged. After being held incommunicado for six months, he was charged with “offenses of espionage” and the “conduct of terrorism” in a one day trial with no evidence, no witnesses and no defence whatsoever. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Since his imprisonment, his family which lives outside China, fellow activists and friends, have taken his case to the international community.
The United States, Canada, Taiwan, the European Union, the United Nations and Amnesty International have all called upon the Chinese government to release him but of no avail. For the past eleven years, he remains in solitary confinement with deteriorating health and chronic illnesses. His family members who live abroad have been denied visa to visit him. The lawyers in China who take up his case are threatened with debarment.
Read about his poignant story in his daughter’s words:
My father, Wang Bingzhang, is serving a life sentence in prison in China for his pro-democracy advocacy work. As a young man, he founded China’s overseas democracy movement, living in New York Area. Inspired by American democracy of the time, and dedicated to his dream of a democratic China, he started a dissident magazine, founded several opposition organizations and travelled the world giving speeches to inspire others to share his ideals.
Then in 2002, while traveling in Vietnam, my father was abducted, forced into a boat to China and arrested by the Chinese police. After being held incommunicado for 6 months, he was subjected to a secret, sham trial, and found guilty of his alleged crimes. For over a decade, he has been serving his sentence in solitary confinement. In recent years, his despair and isolation have sent both his physical and mental health into devastating decline.