Release Dr. WANG Bingzhang
Wang Bingzhang graduated from Beijing Medical Institute in the People’s Republic of China in 1970. He began his medical and surgical career in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. There, he served the medical and surgical needs of ethnic Tibetans for many years, and developed a mutually appreciative relationship with the Tibetan community.
Later, he was transferred to Shijiazhuang Hebei Academy of Medical Sciences, where he conducted clinical research and published several papers on cardiovascular issues in well-known medical journals. In 1978, after the end of the Cultural Revolution, he took and passed the National Examination for Overseas Personnel and was recommended by an internationally renowned cardiovascular expert to study abroad.
In 1979, Dr. Wang went to McGill University in Canada, where he obtained a Ph.D. in experimental medicine in 1982. In so doing, he became one of the first students from the PRC to receive a doctorate degree abroad.
Dr. Wang’s skepticism of the Chinese Communist Party began forming at an early age. In 1966, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, when Dr. Wang was a second-year medical student, a jealous friend in whom he’d confided betrayed him to Red Guards. As a result, Dr. Wang was detained and nearly beaten to death. Dr. Wang’s father was also subjected to a lengthy arbitrary detention. Having personally experienced this near-death ordeal, and having witnessed countless other ways in which CCP rule inflicted unnecessary hardship on his fellow countrymen, Dr. Wang became inspired to more seriously pursue politics during the 1978 Democracy Wall Movement. Thus, while in Canada, he resolved, given up his medical career, and with it, the prospect secure and comfortable life, in favor of pro-democracy activism. And so, in 1982, immediately upon being awarded his Ph.D., Dr. Wang announced that he would not be returning to the PRC, and would instead launch a Chinese pro-democracy movement from overseas.
Dr. Wang’s movement began with the founding of China Spring, a Chinese pro-democracy magazine based in New York. China Spring gained immediate attention, both inside the PRC and internationally. The CCP denounced it, as well as Dr. Wang, while ordinary Chinese people from around the world sent donations and messages of support.
In 1983, Dr. Wang and other activists from the PRC established the Chinese Alliance for Democracy. Later, Dr. Wang founded and helped to found several other organizations challenging the CCP’s one-party rule, including by sneaking into the PRC in 1998 to help lay the groundwork for the founding of the Chinese Democracy Party.
The CCP was extremely fearful of Dr. Wang’s efforts from the outset. After launching China Spring, Dr. Wang tried to renew his PRC passport from the United States, but was told that his PRC citizenship had been revoked. In May 1989, Dr. Wang tried to return to the PRC to support the Tiananmen Square Movement, but was stopped at Tokyo airport. In 1998, after successfully sneaking into the PRC, he was discovered by the authorities, and was arrested and deported. Finally, in June 2002, when Dr. Wang traveled to Vietnam to meet with labor activists from the PRC, he was kidnapped by CCP agents, blindfolded, and abducted into the PRC. There, he was tried behind closed doors, in a half-day trial during which he was not allowed to call witnesses or present evidence, on trumped-up charges of “espionage” and “terrorism.” He was sentenced to life in prison and has been held in solitary confinement since.
In response, the UN Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion declaring that “the detention of Wang Bingzhang is arbitrary” and was “in contravention of articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. In 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament passed resolutions, requesting the CCP to release Dr. Wang Bingzhang.
In 2009, a senior member of the Royal Thai Police issued a signed statement contradicting a central plank of the verdict against Dr. Wang, namely that Dr. Wang had planned to bomb Chinese Embassy in Bangkok. Similarly, in 2013, Taiwan’s National Security Agency issued an official statement contradicting another key claim made in the verdict, namely that Dr. Wang had been a spy for Taiwan. More recently, individuals cited at witnesses in the verdict against Dr. Wang have made clear that they never gave the evidence attributed to them, and that the verdict was falsified in that regard. One such individual has provided Dr. Wang’s family with a declaration made under penalty of perjury. Meanwhile, Dr. Wang has now been jailed for more than 20 years, during which time he has suffered no less than three strokes, and has become an old man of nearly 75.
Despite all this, the CCP has refused to accept the Wang family’s numerous requests for Dr. Wang’s release.
Based on the foregoing, and in the spirit of humanitarianism, based on universal values, and in service of safeguarding the dignity of human rights, we urge UN officials to take immediate action to save Dr. Wang, and to help ensure he does not die while serving an indisputably wrongful life sentence.
Immediately release Dr. Wang Bingzhang
August 28, 2022