The daughters of two imprisoned Chinese dissidents yesterday at an international press conference appealed for the government’s assistance to help rescue their fathers, while Taiwanese human rights activists demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) call on Beijing to release 18 political prisoners.
“My father has always seen Taiwan’s democracy as a model for China. Hopefully, the Taiwanese government and the Taiwanese people will not let him down,” Ti-anna Wang (王天安), daughter of activist Wang Bingzhang (王炳章), told a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The 23-year-old and Lisa Peng (彭佳恩), daughter of jailed activist Peng Ming (彭明), hoped that the government could play a role in demanding the release of their fathers, who have both been sentenced to life in prison.
Receiving his medical doctorate in 1982 in Canada, Wang Bingzhang, 65, organized democracy movements in North America. He was kidnapped in Vietnam in 2002 and given a life sentence in 2003 in a closed trial after being charged with terrorism and spying for Taiwan.
Peng Ming, 57, was kidnapped in Myanmar in 2004 and sentenced to life in prison on terrorism charges, despite of his status as a UN political refugee, said Lisa Peng, who currently lives in the US.
Lisa Peng said her family hope to at least earn the right to visit Peng Ming and provide medical care.
The two women were representing their families, as well the families of another 16 imprisoned dissidents in an effort spearheaded by the International Coalition for Free China 18.
The “China 18” include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) and several Uighur and Tibetan leaders.
A group of rights activists and lawmakers have joined the cause, holding the public hearing yesterday as well as a similar press conference at the EU parliament in Brussels, three days before a press conference is due to take place at the US Congress.
Taiwan cannot sit on the sidelines as Beijing persistently oppresses human rights and the democratic movement, Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said.
“It is especially the case with Wang [Bingzhang], since he was charged with spying for Taiwan,” Yang said.
The activists submitted three demands, including an international press conference to be held by the Presidential Office on Dec. 10, the International Day for Human Rights, to urge Beijing to release the 18 prisoners.
They also demand that the Straits Exchange Foundation deliver the appeal to visiting Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) before Chen’s scheduled return to China today.
Additionally, the National Security Bureau should clarify whether or not Wang Bingzhang spied for the government, Yang said.
“If that was not the case, Wang had been falsely convicted and should be freed,” Yang said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) and Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), as well as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), also appeared at the press conference.