The daughter of Chinese activist Wang Bingzhang (王炳章), who is being held in a Chinese prison, said her father’s health is deteriorating and he needs to be released.
“All my family and I want is for my father to be freed by the Chinese government,” 23-year-old Ti-Anna Wang (王天安) said in a recent interview with reporters.
Ti-Anna said her father has had three strokes and is suffering from major depressive disorder.
“All we want is that he receive medical parole or even better that he be expelled to another country,” said the daughter, who is studying Mandarin in Taiwan.
Her desire to learn Mandarin stems from wanting to communicate with her father, she said.
“I was raised in Canada. English is my mother tongue, not Chinese,” she said.
Wang Bingzhang received his medical doctorate in 1982, becoming the first government-sponsored overseas Chinese academic.
Surprising many, he did not return to China after graduating, instead staying in Canada and the US to organize democracy movements that he hoped would one day help China become a place of freedom and without fear.
Wang Bingzhang attempted to return to China in 1998, but was discovered and expelled by the Chinese government.
Because of his activism, he was kidnapped in Vietnam in 2002 while meeting with other Chinese activists.
He was brought to China and held by police there for six months before being charged with terrorism and espionage.
Wang Bingzhang was given a life sentence in a closed trial in 2003 and has been held in a prison in Guangdong Province since.
Ti-Anna said her family did not know what was going on at the time until a Chinese newspaper printed a short report saying Wang Bingzhang had been arrested and sentenced.
The family later managed to locate Wang Bingzhang and won an appeal to visit him for half an hour per month, but those privileges did not last.
“The last time I saw my father was in October 2008,” she said, adding that her family members have not been granted visas to enter China since then.
“I still want to see my father and talk to him in Mandarin,” Ti-Anna said. “If I could get a visa today, I would take the next possible flight to see him.”
She said her family is still able to write to her father, but they must exercise “self-censorship” to avoid unexpected problems, such as having their letters altered or confiscated by the Chinese government.