China's governing regime is corrupt and brutal. It executes many people on trumped up charges and is not deserving of much sympathy. Plus my blog is being plagued by Mandarin spammers (do they really believe that I have enough Chinese readers to make it worthwhile?). However I can't understand the outrage over them executing a convicted drug smuggler.
I do feel sympathy for Akmal Shaikh and his family, however I can't feel a great deal of outrage over the execution of someone who knowingly chose to commit a capital offence even if his supporters claim he was mentally ill (was there any evidence that he was considered mentally ill before his arrest?). It is a tragic waste of a life but China has the right to set penalties for drug smuggling.
Whilst Iain Dale is right to say that "Wars have been started over less", most people consider the Opium Wars, fought to give Britain the right to sell dope to the Chinese, to have been one of our less heroic military ventures.The Chinese are quite touchy about that part of history, burning down the Summer Palace* is a particular sore point, so it would be a mistake for the British government to push this issue too hard as it will weaken our credibility when objecting to real injustices.
* Although I can't see why it should be considered that bad, insofar as it specifically targeted the Chinese government rather than the masses it seems quite a humane policy. The Americans aren't upset about us burning down the White House during the war of 1812 after all, so why the Chinese are so upset is beyond me.
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