A subcommittee of the US Congress is appealing to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Legislative Yuan to help free a Chinese dissident now serving a life sentence in solitary confinement.
The subcommittee agreed to contact Taipei after hearing testimony on Thursday about pro-democracy advocate Wang Bingzhang (王炳章).
Wang, now 66, was sentenced following a secret trial in 2003 by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in Guangdong Province for various offenses, including allegedly passing military secrets to Taiwan.
Wang’s daughter Ti-Anna Wang (王天安), 23, told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights that her father was never a spy for Taiwan and that he was a political prisoner sentenced after a sham trial.
“In a country without meaningful rule of law, my family has no means to legally appeal my father’s conviction, despite having secured exonerating evidence for the graver charges against him,” Ti-Anna Wang said.
Earlier this month, Ti-Anna Wang was in Taipei appealing directly to the Legislative Yuan for help. She appeared before the subcommittee on Thursday, along with four other young women whose fathers are imprisoned in China.
“When China bullies, incarcerates, tortures and even executes a prisoner of conscience, their entire family and friends suffer an excruciating sense of loss, bewilderment, emotional pain and agony,” subcommittee chairman Christopher Smith said.
“The Chinese government today is in the business of breaking minds, bodies and hearts,” he said.
Ti-Anna Wang said that her father was kidnapped in Vietnam and forced into China after he had become a permanent resident of the US and announced that he was dedicating his life to campaigning for democracy in China.
Wang Bingzhang, a medical doctor, founded China Spring magazine and co-founded several of the first overseas Chinese democratic parties.
“The past decade of confinement has taken an irreversible toll on his physical and mental health,” she said.
China Aid Association founder and president Reverend Bob Fu said that together with 30 other international human rights organizations, he was launching a campaign to free 18 Chinese prisoners of conscience, including Wang Bingzhang.
“Human rights in China has continued to worsen during recent years and recent months and has reached the worst scenario since the Tiananmen massacre,” he said.
Fu urged the subcommittee to contact Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan and Ma and ask them to clarify Wang Bingzhang’s links — if any — to Taiwan.
If he was a spy for Taiwan, Taiwan’s government had a “moral obligation” to fight for his freedom, Fu said. However, if he was not a spy for Taiwan, the Taipei government should appeal to Beijing to let him go as an innocent victim. Fu pleaded with the subcommittee to “formally request” Ma and the Legislative Yuan to act on Wang Bingzhang’s behalf.
Smith promised that they would do so.