China defends 'spy' jailing
From CNN Beijing Correspondent Lisa Rose Weaver
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China's Foreign Ministry has defended the terrorist charges that led to a life sentence for dissident Wang Bingzhang -- believed to be the first time the Chinese have leveled such charges against a pro-democracy activist.
According to China's official Xinhua news agency, 55-year-old Wang, a permanent resident of the United States, was accused of "organizing and leading a terrorist group" and passing state secrets to Taiwan.
Wang also was accused of plotting to bomb the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2001; trying to build a terrorist training camp in northern Thailand and plotting bombings and assassinations in China in 1999.
He was convicted and sentenced Monday.
"China is a country ruled by law, and anyone violating the law and committing crimes will be punished by law," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhang Qiyue.
"The entire process of the trial in this case also was conducted in strict legal compliance, and the rights and interests of the defendant was protected in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations," Zhang said.
Any allegations that China was using the global war against terrorism as an excuse to cover Beijing's crackdown on dissent are groundless, he added.
U.S. 'deep concern'
The U.S. State Department voiced "deep concern" about Wang's trial, and raised questions about the evidence used against him.
"We are particularly concerned by the charge of terrorism in this case, given the apparent lack of evidence and due process," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday.
"We've made it clear to China on numerous occasions and at very senior levels that the war on terrorism must not be misused to repress legitimate grievances or dissent," he said.
Since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Beijing has embraced the goals of the global war on terror to crack down harder on its restive Muslim minority in the far west, according to human rights advocates and exiled Muslim activists.
Wang, who has a doctorate in medical research, had lived in New York since 1982. While he claims to have renounced his Chinese citizenship, Beijing insists he is a Chinese national.
Wang slipped into China in 1998 on a false passport to help establish the China Democracy and Justice Party. After being detained for a month, Chinese authorities released him, apparently to avoid tension with Washington.
The Free China Movement has accused Chinese state security agents of kidnapping Wang in Vietnam last year and taking him to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where he stood trial.
Wang and two other exiled dissidents had been missing for months.