Update: Dr. Wang Bingzhang’s imprisonment, and global attention to his case

Although sentenced to solitary confinement, Dr. Wang Bingzhang may attend some events in the prison.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Shaoguan, Guangdong Province/Canada—Oct. 24, 2020) In an open letter to China, six former Canadian justice and foreign affairs ministers urged officials to release Dr. Wang Bingzhang from prison. The letter asserts that Dr. Wang, a sick dissident, who suffers with ongoing health problems, needs to return to Canada and live with his family.

In the letter to Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, six former Canadian ministers recounted that Dr. Wang has suffered three debilitating strokes. They wrote, “He continues to suffer from other chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, and deep vein thrombosis, putting his life at extreme risk, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he has consistently been denied access to his Canadian family members, most of whom have been barred from entering China.”

The six Canadians, which include three former justice ministers, Anne McLellan, Irwin Cotler, and Allan Rock, as well as three former foreign affairs ministers, Lloyd Aworthy, Lawrence Cannon and Andre Ouellet, asked for the immediate release of Dr. Wang.

They wrote:

At trial, Dr. Wang was denied the opportunity to speak or present evidence, and no credible evidence or live witness testimony was presented against him. Moreover, there is now powerful evidence that the case against Dr. Wang was falsified. At the very least, this mass of compelling exonerating evidence calls for a new trial.”

The six petitioners urged Beijing to provide Dr. Wang’s family with his medical records, so that an independent assessment can be made of his care, and to also lift the restrictions that bar his family members from visiting him in China.

Irwin Cotler, former Canadian justice minister, and attorneys of Raoul Wallenberg Centre hosted a hearing on September 16. The parliament members attending the hearing unanimously mandated that Wang Bingzhang be released and the appeal would be on the agenda of the next parliament meeting.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to the open letter. 

Prior to his arrest, Wang Bingzhang earned his PhD from McGill University’s faculty of medicine, and advocated for democracy in mainland China. In June 2002, Chinese secret spies covertly abducted him on the China-Vietnam border and transported him to China.  

On May 9, 2003, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention passed a decision, announcing that the detention of Wang Bingzhang is arbitrary and violated Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 9, 10 and 11. Based on the proposal, UN officials asked the government to take necessary steps to rectify Wang Bingzhang’s situation so that it aligns with the standards and principles decreed in Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This group stated in the document to the Chinese government that the victim of abduction suddenly became a suspect with other indicts, with China uncertain whether they have found, discovered, or sued the kidnapper. On the other hand, the Chinese government acknowledges Mr. Wang to be the victim of abduction. Authorities have not, however, provided any information regarding China’s accusation of Dr. Wang’s involvement in a kidnapping, nor of any evidence of violence.

Wang Bingzhang’s Christian faith has served as the catalyst for his life in prison. In his last Thanksgiving letter to his family, he wrote:

I am grateful for God’s grace. Every morning, after getting up, I hum the hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

In 2002, a rare abduction caused me to end up in prison. Thereby, I can focus wholeheartedly on decoding Chinese characters. Without the work of God’s invisible hand, there would not be the current me.

Letter from Dr. Wang Bingzhang.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

In the letter pictured above, Dr. Wang begins with the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” He then gives a timeline of main events in his life, including going to school at age 5. Dr. Wang recounts that he successfully passed his first study abroad exam in 1978. He met Ning Qinqin in 1980 while studying in Canada, and afterwards met her brother, Ning Xueqin. Ning gave Dr. Wang the book, Create, about decoding Chinese characters. This book encouraged him to focus on decoding Chinese characters. Now, Wang said, he is writing another book, The Origin of Chinese Characters
Dr. Wang wrote that although imprisoned since 2002, he has been collecting materials for his writing for the past 10 years. He believes that God arranged events in his life and that prison became the best place for him to research Chinese characters. If any of the events he experienced in his life had not happened, Dr. Wang said, “I, Wang Bingzhang, wouldn’t decode Chinese characters, nor have written Decipher the Constitution included in the Bible by God.
Another of Dr. Wang’s letters to his family.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
In his latest May 31 letter , Dr. Wang wrote to his family, he states that since coming to China, he has been treated “in a decent way.” For instance, he claims that he receives good food, and enough nutrition, so that he does not have health problems. 
Dr. Wang also talks about lawyers in this letter. He states that after  the Director of Guangdong Province Lawyer Association met with him, and recommended several lawyers, he picked two. According to Dr. Wang’s directives, his family needs to contact these two lawyers and discuss his case with them. They should pay the service fee per the contract. 
Contrary to the words in this letter, Dr. Wang has survived several strokes. His health requires constant monitoring. Despite this, he also said in his May 31 letter to his family, “I am doing well. Doctors check me on a regular basis. Workers measure my body temperature and blood pressure every day. They are normal. My main organs work well.”

Bingwu, Wang’s younger brother, said, “This is the only letter we have received from my brother in the past six months. Please continually pray for Bingzhang.”

Dr. Wang Bingzhang’s mailing address transcribed from his earlier letter to his family from in prison, 

February 8, 2003

Dr. Wang Bingzhang 
Lishi Town Mailbox 7 6-5

Zhenjiang District
Shaoguan City, Guangdong, China. Zip Code 512140

Gao Zhensai, China Aid Association Special Reporter

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