About Dr. Wang Bingzhang
Dr. Wang Bingzhang was born on December 30, 1947 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. In 1979, eight years after graduating from Beijing Medical University, he went to Canada to undertake graduate studies at McGill University in coronary-arterial research. Shortly after completing his PhD program in 1982, he renounced his career in medicine to dedicate his life to pro-democracy Chinese activism. He then moved to New York where he founded China Spring magazine and co-founded several of the first overseas Chinese democratic parties.
Dr. Wang spent the next 20 years of his life organizing and promoting pro-democracy activities in North America and around the world. In 1989, he tried returning to China to support the Tiananmen Square protests, but was denied entry. In 1998, he snuck back in to establish a democratic party in China, but was arrested and expelled within two weeks. Despite the many challenges and hardships he faced, Dr. Wang toiled relentlessly for the cause he believed in and never gave up his dream for a democratic China ruled by law.
On June 27, 2002, Dr. Wang traveled to Vietnam to meet Chinese labour activists where they disappeared. He and his companions were kidnapped from Vietnam and forced into China by boat. Dr. Wang was then arrested by Chinese authorities shortly after. During this time, the Chinese government denied having any information about his whereabouts only to reverse their claim 6 months later, admitting that Dr. Wang had been in its custody since July 3, 2002.
Dr. Wang was tried in a sham trial on January 22, 2003 by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in Guangdong Province. The Court found him guilty of various offenses, including passing military secrets to Taiwan and plotting to bomb the Chinese embassy in Thailand. During the trial, no evidence and no witnesses were presented and Dr. Wang was given no information about the charges against him. He was sentenced on February 10, 2003 to life imprisonment in solitary confinement. He filed for an appeal, which was subsequently denied.
Since his imprisonment, Canadian, American and European governments have called for his release. The United Nations and Amnesty International have also appealed on his behalf. Despite the international support his case has mobilized, Dr. Wang remains imprisoned in Shaoguan, Guangdong, China. During the 10 years that Dr. Wang has been in prison, both his physical and mental health has rapidly deteriorated. He suffers from phlebitis, hay fever, gastroesophageal disease and has had three stokes. The psychological strain of solitary confinement results in his inability to make proper eye contact. Both his parents have passed away during his confinement.
His sentence permits limited family visits, each lasting about half an hour. These visits are monitored by several prison guards and are conducted in visitation booths so that Dr. Wang and his family can only communicate on the telephone.