When Ti-Anna Wang was a teenager visiting Washington in 2009, she submitted an op-ed about her father, Wang Bingzhang, to The Washington Post. Wang, a prominent Chinese activist, had been a political prisoner since 2002. The piece was published, and afterward Ti-Anna met Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt for coffee.
She never imagined that her struggle to draw international attention to her father’s plight would become the inspiration for Hiatt’s “Nine Days,” a young-adult novel that came out this week. The following are excerpts from an interview with Ti-Anna, now 23 and once again visiting Washington, this time to mark the 10th anniversary of her father’s imprisonment.
Were you close to your father growing up?
I was 13 years old and living in Montreal when my father went missing. The truth is, the lives of activists are much more complicated than what the novel presented. My father was not a regular man nor a regular father. He gave himself to his cause, and our relationship was forged by distance. There is no resentment. The world needs people like my father. In a recent letter, he apologized for the pain he has caused us by his decisions, but said he has no regrets for responding to his calling.