Montreal woman urges Ottawa to fight for release of imprisoned father in China

A Montreal woman hopes that when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Canada next week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss the case of her father, who has spent the last 14 years in solitary confinement in China after he was convicted of espionage and terrorism.

Ti-Anna Wang's father was abducted in 2002 and has been in solitary confinement for last 14 years

Ti-Anna Wang (centre, in black) says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should 'unequivocally demand' the release of her father, Wang Bingzhan. (Submitted by Ti-Anna Wang)

A Montreal woman hopes that when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Canada next week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss the case of her father, who has spent the last 14 years in solitary confinement in China after he was convicted of espionage and terrorism.

Ti-Anna Wang's father, Wang Bingzhang, was abducted by Chinese agents during a trip to Vietnam in 2002 and imprisoned after what was widely denounced as a sham trial.

He was a pro-democracy activist who got his doctorate at McGill University in the 1980s.

Wang Bingzhang was a pro-democracy activist who got his doctorate at McGill University in the 1980s. (Submitted by Ti-Anna Wang)
His 27-year-old daughter hopes his story will have the same happy ending as that of Kevin Garratt, a Canadian who was released Thursday after spending two years in a Chinese jail.

"It saddens and worries me a little bit just because it makes me wonder if my father's case, which I think is equally deserving of the prime minister's attention, will ever get the same degree of care due to his lack of Canadian citizenship," Wang told CBC.

Wang and her family have tried to get Trudeau's attention. They say the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are aware of the case.

Now they want Trudeau to intervene directly.

"I think the prime minister needs to unequivocally ask for, or demand, the release of my father. I think that's really the only chance he has at freedom at this point," she said.

Wang admits she doesn't know how much attention the Prime Minister's Office, or any other government office, is paying to her father's case.

"They never really tell you what they are doing and how much of a priority it is."

Ti-Anna Wang, 27, has not seen her father since 2008. Wang Bingzhang has been in solitary confinement in China since 2002. (Submitted by Ti-Anna Wang)
While she waits for answers from the government, Wang can only communicate with her father in writing. Any letter she sends to him is screened before it's delivered to him. Letters he writes go through the same process.

Wang has not seen her father since 2008. She was denied entry into China in 2009. Every visa application she has made since then has been turned down.

The Chinese premier's visit to Canada next week comes less than a month after Trudeau's first trip to China.

With files from The Canadian Press