Date: July 11, 2003
Contact: Timothy Cooper
UN DECLARES WANG BINGZHANG—SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON IN CHINA-- TO BE ARBITRARILY DETAINED IN VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW; UN CALLS ON CHINA TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO REMEDY VIOLATIONS
Wu and Zhang Qi—kidnapped with Wang Bingzhang in Vietnam last year and detained
for six months before their release—were also declared by UN to have been
arbitrarily detained in violation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Washington, DC—The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Geneva, Switzerland today issued its opinion in arbitrary detention case No 10/2003 (People’s Republic of China), regarding the continuing detention of Dr. Wang Bingzhang, and the past detentions of Yue Wu, and Zhang Qi. The so-called “Democracy Three” were kidnapped on the Vietnamese border last June and taken by force into China, where they were subsequently detained by the government. The UN working group found in all three cases that the pro-democracy dissidents were detained arbitrarily by the Chinese government and that the detention violated international law. In the case of Dr. Wang,, who was sentenced to life in prison, the UN stated that his prison sentence constituted arbitrary detention. Their cases were brought before the United Nations by the Free China Movement in April, 2002. FCM’s international director, Timothy Cooper, represented Wang, Yue and Zhang before the United Nations and litigated their cases.
Wang was sentenced to life in prison in January, 2003 after a one-day trial. Yue Wu and Zhang Qi were permitted to return to France and the United States in December 2002 and March, 2003, respectively, after being secretly held in China for approximately six-months.
The UN declared in its opinion that “Wang, during his first five months in detention, did not have knowledge of the charges, the right to legal counsel, or the right to judicial review of the arrest and detention; and that, after that date, he did not benefit from the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to adequate time and facilities for defense,, the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal, the right to a speedy trial and the right to cross-examine witnesses.”
Moreover, it noted that although the Chinese government “speaks of Wang advocating violence and suggesting the use of methods such as kidnapping and bombings, and claims that he has boasted of having organized and carried out many violent terrorist activities… the Government does not specify if, in fact, Wang ever carried out his intention, and offers no evidence of any specific occasion on which Wang made the alleged calls to violence. Other than the kidnapping of which Wang himself was a victim, as the Government itself acknowledges, no information has been given about other kidnappings or acts of violence initiated by Wang.”
The UN further stated “that the detention of Wang Bingzhang is arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and falls within category III of the categories applicable to the consideration of cases submitted…”
Finally, it calls on the People’s Republic of China “to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Wang Bingzhang and bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
“We are gratified that the United Nations has declared the unjust and morally reprehensible sentence of life imprisonment handed down by Beijing to Dr. Wang Bingzhang for his so-called ‘terrorist activities’ to be a flagrant violation of international law,” stated Mr. Cooper. “Dr. Wang’s life sentence, pre-arranged by China to fulfill a well-planned and cold and calculated political agenda, subverted at every step Dr. Wang’s fundamental right to due process. Secure in our knowledge that we stand on the right side of history, we call upon the international community to re-double its diplomatic efforts to help free the last remaining of the wrongfully imprisoned “Democracy Three.” At last, China’s sinister action has been exposed to the world for what it was and what it is—a serious and continuing violation of international law, unacceptable by any standard of human decency,” concluded Cooper.
“The UN’s decision carries with it the moral weight of the entire international community,” stated Shengde Lian, executive director of the Free China Movement. “It is time therefore for those nations that respect human rights to take action to hold the government of China accountable for its proven violations of the human rights of Dr. Wang.”
“It is a good day when the authority of the United Nations recognizes the fact that Dr. Wang is only guilty of being a helpless victim of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese authorities,” stated Wang Xizhe. “The world must help us free Wang Bingzhang today!”
“We are overjoyed that the UN has made the right decision in my father’s case,” stated Qing Yan, Wang Bingzhang’s daughter. “Hopefully, this will speed the day when my father—unjustly tried, sentenced and imprisoned—will be released.”
The full text of the UN’s opinion is available upon request.
PS: URL to get a copy of UN Decision is ftp://ftp.freechina.net/pub/fcm/missing3/