Wo Weihan – taken before he could say his last goodbyes
Wo Weihan, a 59-year-old medical scientist who was found guilty of spying for Taiwan, was executed in China on Friday. His daughters and his son-in-law describe how they felt about his killing.
"Today, our beloved father, Wo Weihan, was executed. His life was taken from him before he or our family could say its last goodbyes. The entire process – from arrest to execution – was conducted in a way that was degrading to both my father and our family. We were all misled, led to have false hope, denied the fundamental right to be informed, and forced to suffer.
"On Thursday morning, I visited my father at the Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing. He had not been informed about any decision by the Supreme Court. He was surprised and very happy to see us.
"Because he did not know about a looming execution, he was hopeful and did not leave any final words or will with our family. Because we also had received no official confirmation on the status of the case, we allowed ourselves to hope with him.
"After the visit, the Austrian embassy wrote a note verbal to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for a second visitation because 1) we could not say goodbye to our father 2) my sister flew in from Austria and could not see our father on Thursday morning.
"On Thursday afternoon, around 4pm, the Chinese MFA called the Austrian Embassy, informing Ambassador Sajdik and Deputy Ambassador Scholz that our family will receive a second visitation right and should apply through the Beijing High Court. We were very thankful for this opportunity, especially my sister. We expressed our gratitude and our hope in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
"On Friday morning, we called the court and spoke with the staff member who is responsible for foreigner's requests at the Beijing High Court. She was not informed about this visitation right and promised to verify this information and get back to us. However, we haven't received any feedback and tried to call her throughout the day, without success.
"At 5pm today, we were informed by Austria's deputy ambassador Scholz that the Chinese MFA gave him the confirmation that the execution had taken place in the morning today. According to our information, our father was executed by gunshot.
"We are deeply shocked, saddened, disappointed and outraged. We, the family, were not allowed to say good-bye. We were also denied the most fundamental and universal right of information about what was happening with our father.
"Throughout these four years since our father's arrest, the family was kept in the dark. After Thursday, we were led to believe that we could see our father one more time. The execution was carried out in secrecy while we hoped.
"My father was put to death, so was our hope in the Chinese justice system. It's tragic enough that our father, who allegedly committed a non-violent crime and who pled innocence until the very last moment, was put to death. Why did the Chinese authorities also have to punish our entire family in this inhumane and degrading way?
"Yes, our father was a Chinese citizen and is subject to Chinese law. But the Chinese law also says that death row prisoners deserve the right to see their families before execution, to say goodbye and to go in peace. Our father could not go in peace and our family will be forever haunted.
"Everyone deserves the right for information about what is happening to his or her loved one, across all national boundaries, races and cultures. The misinformation from the Chinese MFA to Austria, the French presidency of the EU and its member states is deceptive and disgraceful.
"My sister and I grew up in China until we were teenagers. We were brought up by Chinese parents who taught us the value of Xiao, the gratitude for one's parents, and the concept of Qin Qing – the highest of all love, the love between father and daughter, mother and son. The legal procedures in China, which we experienced in these last traumatic days, show no regard for these values.
"These procedures degrade humanity. Our hearts are bleeding. Our father was condemned by the Chinese courts, but we will love, respect and remember him forever."
by Ran Chen & Di Chen, Wo Weihan's daughters, and Michael Rolufs, Ran Chen's husband.