By Times Wang and Ti-Anna Wang
Published by the Globe and Mail, January 20, 2020
The son and daughter of Dr. Wang Bingzhang, a McGill-educated pro-democracy activist arrested in February 2003 by Chinese authorities and sentenced to life in prison on charges of espionage and terrorism, know what they speak of when they advocate for holding fast to the principles of rule of law.
In an opinion piece published by the Globe and Mail, Times and Ti-Anna Wang compare their father’s situation to that of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, Canada’s most famous detainee, who begins her extradition hearing this week in Vancouver. The Wangs write:
“The nature of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), combined with its international might, means that nothing short of near-total capitulation to its will can assure the release of people like our father, or of the two hostages taken by it, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. In our father’s case, that would mean, among other things, confessing to absurd crimes that other governments have already exonerated him of, as well as, on our part, staying silent.”
They say a release on such terms would not represent a victory and that the “surest way to win” is to uphold “one’s commitment to principles such as human rights and the rule of law … even when doing so would benefit your erstwhile enemy”. [See Meng extradition hearing has drawn close scrutiny from advocates for human rights and judicial reform in China].
The Wangs recommend the Trudeau government take advantage of the watching world as the hearings proceed to proclaim and celebrate “the principles that animate those proceedings at every possible opportunity.”
Doing so, they say, will draw the attention of China’s citizens to their country’s lack of rule of law under the CCP and reduce Party propagandists’ ability to prove Canada’s “talk about freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights” is “empty rhetoric”.
As for Meng Wanzhou, the Wangs applaud the freedom she enjoys in Canada to make a case that her rights have been violated.
“Regardless of the outcome,” they write, “we are proud of the way she has been treated by the Canadian government thus far, and we look forward to the day when people in China can enjoy such treatment themselves.”