U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS INTERCEDES ON CHINESE DISSIDENT DR. WANG BINGZHANG
U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS INTERCEDES ON CHINESE DISSIDENT DR. WANG BINGZHANG'S BEHALF
(Dr. Wang-sentenced to life in prison- remains in perilous health)
WASHINGTON, DC-In a letter to Worldrights, dated August 16, 2004, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, wrote that the Special Rapporteur Against Torture and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders had sent ?an urgent appeal to the Chinese authorities regarding Dr. Wang's incarceration.? She also conveyed her assurances that she ?will bring Dr. Wang's case to the attention of the Permanent Mission of China and inquire about progress.?
Worldrights lobbied the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in April and July for such interventions by the UN Geneva office.
In January, Dr. Wang suffered a debilitating stroke after mounting a hunger strike to protest his year-and-a-half solitary confinement. From January to July, Dr. Wang's family was denied any access to him, and only learned about his stroke and shocking physical deterioration in July, when a family member was finally permitted to visit him in prison. Prison officials had said that the family had been denied their normal monthly visitation rights because Dr. Wang ?was being punished for bad behavior.? According to first-hand testimony, Dr. Wang's health is very fragile and his recovery from the stroke is incomplete.
In July, Amnesty International sent out a worldwide urgent medical alert on Dr. Wang's behalf.
The new actions taken by the UN High Commissioner increase pressure on China to release Dr. Wang, who was sentenced to life in prison in January 2003.
On May 9, 2003, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that China denied Dr. Wang a fair trial and therefore violated his right to due process in contravention of universal human rights standards. The UN Working Group called for China to remedy the violations. In November 2003, the Canadian House of Common's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade passed a resolution calling on ?the Chinese Government to release Dr. Wang Bingzhang from prison, and permit him to be reunited with his family and colleagues.? In May 2004, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution, 399-to-0, requesting Dr. Wang's immediate release, and asking for the President ?to make the immediate release of Dr. Wang by the Government of the People's Republic of China a top priority of United States foreign policy.? A similar resolution will be introduced in the Britain's House of Commons in September.