Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the arbitrary detention of Dr. Wang Bingzhang by the Government of the People's Republic of China and urging his immediate release. (Introduced in House)

HCON 326 IH

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. CON. RES. 326

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the arbitrary detention of Dr. Wang Bingzhang by the Government of the People's Republic of China and urging his immediate release.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 18, 2003

Mrs. NAPOLITANO (for herself, Mr. FARR, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. MCNULTY, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mrs. TAUSCHER, and Mr. WOLF) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the arbitrary detention of Dr. Wang Bingzhang by the Government of the People's Republic of China and urging his immediate release.

Whereas Dr. Wang Bingzhang is a permanent resident of the United States and his sister and daughter are United States citizens;

Whereas Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. at McGill University in Canada in coronary-arterial research and is a well-respected leader of the overseas Chinese pro-democracy movement and the founder of China Spring magazine;

Whereas Dr. Wang is currently serving a life sentence in prison in the People's Republic of China and is suffering from gastritis, varicose veins, phlebitis, and depression;

Whereas Dr. Wang was abducted in northern Vietnam in June 2002 after meeting with a Chinese labor activist;

Whereas Dr. Wang was driven to the border between Vietnam and the People's Republic of China and forced back to China by boat;

Whereas Dr. Wang was blindfolded and bound and held in various places in Guangxi Province and his captors demanded a $10,000,000 ransom, which Dr. Wang was unable to pay;

Whereas Dr. Wang although provided his captors with the names and telephone numbers of his relatives, they were never contacted;

Whereas Dr. Wang was finally taken to a Buddhist temple in Fangchenggang City in southern Guangxi Province where his abductors unexpectedly left and moments later he was `rescued' by the Chinese police;

Whereas Dr. Wang was detained by the Chinese police and then transported to Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Province;

Whereas Dr. Wang was held incommunicado for six months, during which time the Government of the People's Republic of China denied any knowledge of his whereabouts;

Whereas on December 4, 2002, the Chinese Government reversed itself, admitting that Dr. Wang had been in its custody since July 3, 2002;

Whereas on December 5, 2002, Dr. Wang was charged with `offenses of espionage' and `the conduct of terrorist activities';

Whereas on January 22, 2003, Dr. Wang was tried by the Intermediate People's Court in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province;

Whereas Dr. Wang's trial lasted only half a day and was closed to the public because the Chinese Government indicated that `state secrets' might be revealed, thereby precluding family members, supporters, and reporters from attending;

Whereas at the trial, Dr. Wang declared himself innocent of all charges;

Whereas at the trial, the Chinese Government refused to release any evidence of Dr. Wang's wrongdoing;

Whereas at the trial, Dr. Wang was denied the right to due process, specifically the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare for his own defense, the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal, the right to call witnesses on his own behalf, the right to cross-examine witnesses testifying against him, and in general, the lack of other due process guarantees that would ensure his adequate defense and a full hearing;

Whereas Dr. Wang's trial represented the first time the Chinese Government had brought charges against a pro-democracy dissident under its new terrorism laws;

Whereas although Dr. Wang was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on February 10, 2003, Dr.Wang's lawyers stated that there was insufficient evidence to convict him;

Whereas Dr. Wang's lawyers immediately appealed the court's verdict, but the appeal was rejected on February 28, 2003;

Whereas a human rights petition was submitted on Dr. Wang's behalf to the United Nations Arbitrary Working Group of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

Whereas the petition claimed that Dr. Wang was being arbitrarily detained and that the judicial standards employed in his trial fell far short of internationally recognized standards for judicial proceedings under provisions of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

Whereas in its opinion, the United Nations Working Group noted that Dr. Wang is an internationally recognized pro-democracy activist as opposed to the Chinese Government's characterization of Dr. Wang as an individual who advocates violence and suggests the use of methods such as kidnapping and bombings to achieve his goals, and that Dr. Wang had boasted of carrying out many violent terrorist activities;

Whereas in its opinion, the United Nations Working Group further noted that the Chinese Government offered `no evidence of any specific occasion on which Wang made the alleged calls to violence' and that `[o]ther 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' ;

Whereas in its opinion, the United Nations Working Group further stated 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';

Whereas in conclusion, the United Nations Working Group declared 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 requested `the [Chinese] Government 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';

Whereas the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China made the following recommendation in its 2003 annual report: `The President and the Congress should increase diplomatic efforts to hold the Chinese government to [its commitments on human rights matters during the December 2002 U.S.-China human rights dialogue], particularly the release of those arbitrarily detained';

Whereas the report also stated the following: `The Chinese [G]overnment has also taken advantage of the global war on terrorism to persecute . . . political dissidents. In February 2003, Wang Bingzhang , a U.S. permanent resident and veteran pro-democracy activist, was convicted of `leading a terrorism organization' and `spying' and sentenced to life imprisonment'; and

Whereas the report finally noted that `[i]n July 2003, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that Wang's arrest and imprisonment violated international law': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that--

(1) Dr. Wang Bingzhang , a permanent resident of the United States, is being arbitrarily detained in the People's Republic of China in violation of international law;

(2) the United States Government should request the Government of the People's Republic of China to release Dr. Wang , permitting him to immediately return to the United States; and

(3) the President should 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.