China Law: Liu Xiaobo and Akmal Shaikh

The Economist ran a story called “No forgiveness; no quarter. Happy Christmas from China” that had over 450 comments last time I checked. There are two components to the story:

On Christmas Day a Beijing court sentenced Liu Xiaobo, a veteran human-rights activist, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”

On December 21st Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old Briton charged with smuggling drugs, had his death sentence upheld by China’s Supreme People’s Court.

Far more interesting than the article itself was a commenter (British citizen living in Australia) “who has spent a large proportion of his career living and working in China”:

I believe this case highlights several problems facing China as it rises in the 21st century. Firstly, there is no rule of law. This is probably the greatest problem currently facing the country. The law remains arbitrary and corrupt. Your ability to defend yourself from the state depends upon your connections and your wealth. If you have neither, it’s a lottery.

Secondly, it illustrates the ability of the Chinese state to whip up nationalism and xenophobia, thanks in no small part to the ignorance of the general population it has done so much to bring about.

I think it is very sad that the CCP has inculcated many Chinese people with the belief that criticism of the Chinese government is criticism of China.

The comment in response from a typical “party line” Chinese author was perhaps even more interesting:

As for chapter 8, I was discussing with one of my friends (who is studying Law) on this matter, it is actually a Chinese copy of American Constitution. It is a good proposal, but not very suitable for current China, really.

Democracy is created to ensure fairness, while autocracy to gaurantee efficiency and unification. China needs to tackle with poverty and separatists, which necessitates a central-controlled government. You may believe that Tibet, or Xinjiang is not a part of China, but for all the chinese, we will fight ultil the last person to protect the integrity of our nation.

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