Human rights groups and relatives of dissident Wang Bingzhang called for his immediate release after he was jailed for life yesterday. The Free China Movement, a US-based human rights group co-founded by Wang, strongly protested against the sentence and urged the US government to intervene. 'The entire China democracy movement, including Dr Wang's daughter, Qingyan, and his mother and father, deplores the sentence handed down today in the case of Dr Wang Bingzhang by the Beijing government,' it said. 'We urge the US to do everything within its power to work for his immediate release.' A minor scuffle also broke out in Hong Kong yesterday between a dozen members of the April 5th Action Group and the police, when the protesters were barred from delivering a petition protesting against the conviction to the central government's liaison office in Sheung Wan. Human rights groups and Wang's relatives have challenged accounts of the dissident's arrest given by mainland officials, as well as the accusations against him. Wang's daughter yesterday told Cable TV in Hong Kong that the allegation that her father had been plotting bomb attacks on the Chinese Embassy in Thailand was not convincing because the Thai government would have stepped in. A Thai anti-terrorism official, police Major-General Tritos Ronnaritwichai, said Thai police had not been asked for information about Wang. He added that the dissident had visited Thailand as a tourist, and that police had monitored him as a 'high-profile person'. Wang's mysterious disappearance in Vietnam and his arrest by mainland police was also questioned. Wang was reported missing in Vietnam with two pro-democracy activists, Yue Wu and Zhang Qi, by his family. Although Wang's relatives claimed he was kidnapped by mainland police, the central government denied knowledge of his whereabouts until December, when Xinhua reported that he had been rescued from kidnappers in Guangxi, near the border with Vietnam, in July. Xinhua said he had been kidnapped in Vietnam and taken to Guangxi after the ransom of US$10 million (HK$77.8 million) was not paid. He had been held in custody by mainland police since last July and was formally charged on December 5. Mr Wu, a French citizen who was Wang's travelling companion, was released later. He reportedly said after his release that the kidnappers wore Vietnamese police uniforms. The appointment of Wang's defence lawyers was also controversial. The Free China Movement earlier said that Wang's daughter had sacked the legal team appointed by the state because it was unable to help. Wang is a co-founder of two banned political groups, the China Alliance of Democracy and the China Democracy and Justice Party.