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"Free Wang Bingzhang!" campaign warms up (english)
by China Support Network
14 Feb 2003
Abducted Chinese dissident Dr. Wang Bingzhang should not be in China in the first place. Monday, Beijing sentenced him to life in prison. Reaction follows--
Boosting freedom and democracy for China • Since 1989
February 13, 2003
David Chu, Public Relations
new cause celebre, is unifying
China's pro-democracy movement
Campaign begins to free Wang
amid heated reaction, rising clamor of outrage
On Monday, China sentenced
abducted Chinese dissident, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, to life in prison. Dr. Wang, 55,
is credited as a founder of China's pro-democracy movement, and of the China
Democracy Party, a banned political party. He has been referred to as
"China's Nelson Mandela."
February 13, 2003 (CSN) --
An outpouring of response has continued to come from every corner of China's
far-flung democracy movement, reflecting its universal revulsion, outrage, and
condemnation of China for Monday's sentencing of Dr. Wang Bingzhang, one of the
tallest, most senior figures among its leadership.
Who is Wang Bingzhang?
Dr. Wang's principled and
courageous politics began at the time of China's Cultural Revolution, a 1966 -
1976 period of authorities going to excess, and of enormous misery, suffering,
and death for millions of Chinese citizens. Dr. Wang, then a medical student,
was jailed twice for his political views, before making his way to Canada, where
he completed a doctorate in medical research. In 1982, he moved to New York,
where he set up the Chinese Alliance for Democracy, and began publishing a
periodical, China Spring. That magazine became popular with pro-democracy
intellectuals in China, and among people such as the students in Tiananmen
Square. At Tiananmen Square, Chinese college students led an uprising, calling
for democracy and freedom, and had a six-week stand off with authorities, before
it ended in the Tiananmen Square massacre, seen on world television, on June 4,
1989. In 1998, Dr. Wang snuck back into China to help form the China Democracy
Party, also called the Chinese Democracy and Justice Party. He was caught by
authorities and expelled from China. No less, the occasion cemented his fame and
heroism in this cause.
What happened in the abduction of
John Kusumi muses, "The
meeting may have been a set up." Wang Bingzhang, traveling with two other
Chinese dissidents, set out to meet leaders of China's fledgling labor movement.
The meeting was to take place in Vietnam, safely across the border from China.
The setup of the meeting may have included ruses and lures by hosts with bad
intentions. Together, the dissidents visiting from the West (two, including
Wang, from the U.S., and one from France) became known as "The Democracy
On the night of June 26,
2002, the Democracy 3 were abducted from their hotel, by men wearing Vietnamese
police uniforms, and who spoke Mandarin Chinese. They were taken the 12 miles to
the border with China, and placed on a boat which brought them into China. The
abduction was well orchestrated, with cars waiting at the hotel and at the
border, as well as a waiting boat. These details come to us from Yue Wu, one of
the companions traveling with Wang in the Democracy 3.
The Free China Movement, on
July 25, accused the Chinese government of kidnapping them. China denied that it
was holding them. The Democracy 3 were held incommunicado for six months, until
a December 19 report by China's Xinhua news agency admitted that they had the
three in custody, "since July 3." The dispute lingers about the June
26 - July 3 period, with the Free China Movement insisting that the kidnappers
were Chinese government agents, and with China saying that it rescued the three
from a kidnap gang, and found them tied up in a temple on July 3.
China subsequently arrested
Wang Bingzhang, and cleared his two companions of any charges. Wang stood trial
in China on January 22, for charges of espionage and terrorism. The charges have
been termed "ludicrous" by the Free China Movement, and a
"yarn" by the China Support Network. Other adjectives have come from
What happened Monday?
China announced a guilty
verdict, and a sentence of life in prison for Wang Bingzhang.
What happened since Monday?
A rising international
uproar is ready to pierce our eardrums. The CSN reported Tuesday about some
reaction, and now there is more. The Free China Movement has released its
intelligence that the trial's outcome and sentencing were ordained in advance by
a "very important communist official in Beijing," who is quoted as
saying, "Since he (Dr. Wang) is willing to spend his whole life in jail if that can end our Party's
rule, in exchange then let him stay in jail for life!"
Wang Bingzhang himself has
weighed in. A letter to his family, dated February 8, was published by a Hong
Kong newspaper. Here is what Dr. Wang had to say--
Mom and Dad,
Family members, Hope you
are all well,
I am writing this brief
note to let you know I am alive and well. Since entering China, my basic
living needs have been met, the food and drink have been not bad, with
sufficient nutrition, and my health has not failed dramatically. The agencies
and officials in charge of my care have been most courteous, so mom and dad,
and family, please do not worry.
Also, with regards to the
matter of my legal counsel. Both Min Yang and Chao Wen are independent lawyers
in Guangzhou in private practice. The head of the Guangdong Province Bar
Association, Yunhua Ci, met with me in person, and presented a list of
recommended counsel. From among those listed, I selected Min Yang and Chao Wen.
They seem to be very responsible in exercising their duties as lawyers, and
presented a defense of not guilty before the Court. Please repose your trust
in their professionalism, and bring any matters under consideration to their
attention for discussion. My legal fees should be paid according to the sums
specified in the contract. As to my daily living routine, every day I pray to
God. I trust, the Lord will protect us.
democracy leaders in the U.S. have gone on record with responses.
Wang Xizhe / FCM
"We are very angry. We lodge
a strong protest."
Shengde Lian / FCM
"Dr. Wang's harsh sentence... has galvanized
the pro-democracy movement everywhere. Protests in Washington DC and in other cities around the world are in the planning stages. Dr. Wang's cause will not
die, even as he remains in prison. The peaceful struggle to end China's era of totalitarian rule is rising once again."
Yongjun Zhou / FCM
"Dr. Wang's trial took place only after its verdict and sentence was pre-ordained.
The case of Dr. Wang was politically motivated. Its purpose was to link legitimate political dissent to terrorism. What we have here is not a case of
Dr. Wang committing terrorism acts, but of the Communist government engaging in terrorist acts against pro-democracy dissidents."
Timothy Cooper / FCM
"What Beijing dreads most is waking up one day to find the head of the Chinese
pro-democracy movement fitted on the body of the country's fledgling labor movement.
[Dr. Wang was] one of the few people who could accomplish this feat."
Paul Risenhoover / FCM
"Whereas the Soviets had many
'show' trials, the communist Chinese only have 'no trials' with no evidence, no witnesses, no
defense, no rights, and no due process."
Dan Yi / IFCSS
"More than one generation of
Chinese students have benefited from Dr. Wang's efforts. The veterans of IFCSS
would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his leadership in the early
years. Let us carry on the cause for democracy and human rights."
Wei Jingsheng / OCDC
"Once again, this is an indication that the policy of tolerance and
appeasement that the international society and American government has adopted to the Chinese dictator government has permitted the
Chinese human rights condition to go backwards.
"According to Chinese law, if he did not enter
China and violated Chinese law there, the Chinese court does not have legal jurisdiction over him. Instead, it should be the jurisdiction
of the courts in the USA and Canada.
"We appeal to the US government and the Canadian government to
come forward for fairness and justice, to request the jurisdiction rights of the American courts and the Canadian courts over the case of Dr.
"There is no evidence to substantiate the charges
[against Dr. Wang]. China should not see dissidents who have visited Taiwan as spies, and Chinese
pro-democracy activists have never resorted to violence or taken terrorist actions."
"Mainland Chinese dissidents are peaceful and rational. The charges
against Wang Bingzhang can hardly be true."
Xue Wei / Beijing Spring
"[Urges] all human rights groups in the world to give
Wang Bingzhang a helping hand."
John Kusumi / CSN
"This is unifying the cause,
and bringing it back to world attention. Beijing's CCP will come to look back on
this move as a mistake. We add one more reason to justify the worldwide boycott
of 'Made in China' goods."
The U.S. State Department
also expressed its "deep concerns" about this case, with spokesman
Richard Boucher saying, "We have made it clear to China on numerous occasions and at very senior
levels that the war on terrorism must not be misused to repress legitimate political grievances or dissent."
However, China publicly rejected the U.S. criticism.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs
Council denied that Wang had been paid to gather intelligence for Taiwan. The council also criticized Beijing for ignoring human rights.
In their statement, "China's ruling on this case demonstrates that China is still a country
that can't respect human rights -- the universal rights valued by most of the international
community." The council called on the international community to keep a close eye on developments.
At the China Support
Network, Executive Director John Kusumi notes, "That man [Dr. Wang] has
followers -- all pro-democracy Chinese, and all who pin their hopes on this
cause. Nobody is letting go of this matter; we can expect to see an ongoing
campaign to free Wang Bingzhang."
The demands of this case are
creating a fundraising emergency at the Free China Movement. In a statement, FCM
appealed for contributions, saying, "We hope that any donors interested in
giving to support the prisoners in China would email: lead (at) freechina.net
to make arrangements to wire funds to Dr. Bingzhang Wang or Dr. Jianli
Yang." Kusumi pointed out, "Private donations will be very much in
order at this time. I know that funds are needed at FCM, OCDC, IFCSS, and CSN."
Dispute over status of Wang
Natively a Chinese, Dr. Wang
has at different times lived in China, Canada, and the U.S. Did he achieve
Canadian citizenship, and did he renounce his Chinese citizenship? Dissidents
say yes. In the United States, Dr. Wang achieved 'permanent resident' status,
which is a step short of citizenship. That U.S. status is clear, as is the fact
that Dr. Wang is a U.S. based dissident.
In announcements from the
democracy movement, Dr. Wang has been termed a 'U.S. national.' That status
entitles Dr. Wang to some further diplomatic protection, and jurisdiction of the
U.S. legal system, than he might otherwise receive.
"The trouble now is
that he is not receiving that U.S. service," says Kusumi. Horrified
dissidents are coming to be at odds with U.S. officials, and an entire sidebar
dispute is flaring. A statement by the Free China Movement's board of directors
Americans should know that
our State Department refused to assist an American national and deeply religious
Christian brother, Dr. Bingzhang Wang, in his hour of need after having been
State Department officials
in the Asia and Pacific Affairs bureau told US government journalists working
for the Voice of America that Wang was not entitled to US diplomatic
protection, and with reminiscences of the drama 'Red Corner' come to life, US
Embassy officers in Beijing told the New York Times the same thing.
Shengde Lian, the Executive
Director at the Free China Movement, said, "It's wrong and irresponsible
for official to say Dr. Wang is not US National and there is no difference
between US citizen and US national."
"This is a glib way for
the State Department to wriggle off the hook, at a time when the conscience of
the entire free world is being affronted -- at a time when the State Department
should respond vigorously to this international abduction," notes Kusumi.
"There is an immediate hole to be found in the State Department's line of
the day. Looking into U.S. law, we can find that, yes, Virginia, there is such a
thing as a non-citizen U.S. national."
Dissidents know that there
is indeed a difference in the definitions of U.S. citizen, on the one hand, and
U.S. national, on the other hand. They avow that Dr. Wang Bingzhang is a
non-citizen U.S. national.
The U.S. government likely
will not hear the end of this dispute until they come around to side with the
Chinese dissidents. Kusumi quipped, "The State Department couldn't take the
heat, and they got out of the kitchen, dodging their responsibilities in a
cowardly way. People for freedom and democracy have the kitchen left all to
Noting that Dr. Wang and his
cause are all about democracy, freedom, and justice, the board of directors
concluded in their statement,
"It behooves all who cherish those same core American ideals to extend
their best efforts to secure his [Dr. Wang's] immediate release and
This just in...
OVERSEAS CHINESE DISSIDENTS TO
STAGE CROSS COUNTRY RALLIES TO CONDEMN CHINA'S BARBARIC LIFE SENTENCE OF DR.
Rallies to take place
in New York City and Los Angeles
Washington, DC--The Free
China Movement is announcing two major rallies to take place on opposite ends of
the country. The first is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2003 in New York
City at the Sheraton Hotel at 1:00 p.m. Please contact Yongjun Zhou at (202) 255
6166 or Sun Yun at (718) 793-9638 for more information.
It will be sponsored by the
Campaign to Free Dr. Wang Bingzhang. The speakers will include: Family members
of Dr. Wang, Dr. Wang Bingwu of Toronto, Wang Yuhua from Canada, leaders of the
Free China Movement, the editor of Huang Hua Gang Magazine, and representatives
from various Chinese pro-democracy organizations.
The second rally is
scheduled for Sunday, February 16 at the People's Republic of China Consulate in
Los Angeles at 10:30 a.m.
It will be sponsored by
China Democracy Movement organizations and LA Association of Film and Movie
Artists. Speakers will include: Dr. Wang's daughter, Wang Qingyan, and Dr.
Wang's sister, Julie Wang, of Los Angeles.
Dr. Wang Bingzhang was
sentenced this week to life in prison on trumped up espionage and terrorism
charges. Dr. Wang was kidnapped on the Vietnam/China border last June by
Chinese agents, held incommunicado for six months by the Chinese government
although denying that they held him, and then convicted in a one day trial, and
shortly thereafter sentenced to life in prison.
Published by the
China Support Network (CSN). Begun by grass roots Americans in 1989, CSN
represents Americans who were "on the side" of the students in
Tiananmen Square -- standing for democratic reform, human rights, and freedom in
China. For dissident news; to support a stronger China policy; or get more
information, see http://www.chinasupport.net.