‘A Tale of Two Girls’

Updated
Ti-Anna Wang, the real-life inspiration for Fred Hiatt's novel "Nine Days," was photographed on April 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Ti-Anna Wang, the real-life inspiration for Fred Hiatt's novel "Nine Days," was photographed on April 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Ti-Anna Wang and Ti-Anna Chen. Two different–but similar–girls. One is real and one is fiction.

Wang has spent the past 11 years devoting most of her energy trying to win the freedom of her father, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, from a prison in China. For Chen, her journey lasted nine days in search of her father, who went missing after landing in Hong Kong.

Wang is the inspiration for the heroine in Fred Hiatt’s fictional novel Nine Days, which follows Chen and her American friend on their nine-day adventure to find her kidnapped father. When Wang was 13, her father–a veteran democracy activist–was sentenced to life in prison for his political activism. She postponed entering college in 2008 to advocate in Washington, D.C., to travel the world, and to speak to the media, policymakers, and government officials about Chinese political prisoners.

Wang will sit down with msnbc on Wednesday for a web-exclusive Afternoon Mo Joe greenroom interview.

The elder Wang, who is now in his 60s, gave up a promising career in medicine to devote his life to the democratic transformation of China. While dining with two fellow labor activists at a restaurant in Vietnam in 2002, Wang and his colleagues were abducted by several men who spoke Chinese. He was held incommunicado for six months, had a one-day trial, and was charged with “offenses of espionage” and the “conduct of terrorism.”

“The values of freedom and democracy upon which America was founded are the same values that once inspired my father and are the ones to which he remains dedicated. Those values are not just every American’s birthright; they are the fundamental rights of all human beings,” Wang wrote about her father in a 2009 Washington Post article.


Born in 1989, Wang has dedicated her life working toward human rights, democracy, and freedom of speech–all connotations that her name implies. Consequently, she was named to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing led by students who voiced grievances against inflation, limited career prospects, and corruption of the party elite.

Tweet your questions for Wang to #MoJoe. Watch Morning Joe’s web-exclusive greenroom interview with her on Wednesday at AfternoonMoJoe.msnbc.com. Learn more about the campaign for her father’s freedom—and find out which of your questions is answered.

'A Tale of Two Girls'

Updated