Jailed Chinese dissident Wang Bingzhang in worsening health, says family


Copyright 2004 Agence France Presse

Agence France Presse -- English

June 29, 2004 Tuesday

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 263 words

HEADLINE: Jailed Chinese dissident Wang Bingzhang in worsening health, says family



Dissident Wang Bingzhang, who was sentenced last year to life imprisonment on espionage and terrorism charges in China, is in deteriorating health, his family and a human rights organisation said Tuesday.

"His life is in danger," one of his sisters, Wang Yuhua, told AFP from Canada. Wang had staged a hunger strike earlier this year in protest at his confinement.

She said another sister, Wang Mei, had visited the dissident in jail in southern China's Shaoguan city on Monday.

Wang is suffering amongst other ailments from hepatitis, gastric acidity and rheumatism, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in China.

"He has great trouble walking," said Wang Yuhua. "He had been hospitalised for a month following a hunger strike from January 16 to 24, which we had not been told about."

In July last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had urged China to free Wang, noting that his arrest and imprisonment violated international law.

Wang, who had lived in the United States for 20 years, was formally arrested in 2002 after a six-month detention which followed a mysterious abduction close to the Vietnam border along with two other dissidents, Yue Wu and Zhang Qi, who were subsequently released.

In February last year, a court in Shenzhen convicted Wang of espionage and leading a terrorist group.

He was found guilty of providing intelligence to Taiwan between 1982 and 1990 and obtaining "secret military material illegally" in exchange for money.