- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2003

From combined dispatches
BEIJING In sentencing a longtime democracy activist to life in prison, China departed from the subversion charges it typically uses to silence dissent and invoked an accusation that resonates loudly in today's world: terrorism.
Wang Bingzhang, a Chinese citizen with permanent residency status in the United States, was convicted yesterday of spying for Taiwan between 1982 and 1990 and setting up a terrorist group. His fellow activists rejected the charges as false and politically motivated.
The United States said yesterday it had "deep concerns" about the trial.
"Our embassy in Beijing and our consulate general in Guangzhou have again registered our deep concerns over lack of due process and China's refusal to admit observers to the proceedings," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters in Washington.
"We also note with deep concern that Mr. Wang's trial was conducted in secret, raising questions about the nature of the evidence against him," he added. "We are particularly concerned by the charge of terrorism in this case given the apparent lack of evidence and of due process."
Mr. Boucher said Mr. Wang appeared to have been detained by China for six months, during which Chinese authorities denied knowing his whereabouts.
Mr. Wang, 55, was visiting Hanoi with two other dissidents when they were reported missing in June. He was arrested July 3 after police said they found him in a temple in China's southern interior while they were investigating a kidnapping case.
Pro-democracy activists suggest he was abducted in Vietnam by Chinese agents after meeting with Chinese labor activists in Hanoi.
Authorities say Mr. Wang ordered an unspecified assassination in 1999 and plotted to blow up China's embassy in Thailand and roads and bridges on the Chinese mainland. It was the first time the communist Chinese government publicly accused Mr. Wang of links to specific terrorist acts. Thai officials said they knew of no such plot.
The charges were outlined by the government's Xinhua news agency in a report far more detailed than its usual abbreviated announcements about trial results.
The government released none of the evidence, making it impossible to assess the charges against Mr. Wang. The Xinhua report named seven persons it called conspirators in Mr. Wang's purported terrorism network but did not identify them. His trial was closed to the public; the government cited state secrets.

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