China has defended the execution of British man Akmal Sheikh, the first European citizen to have been executed in over 50 years.
Despite much global condemnation , China’s decision to stand it’s ground has also attracted praise – from outside China.
“Sorry not to join the liberal wailing: heroin traffickers deserve to die,” writes Leo McKinstry.
“My regret is not over tough action by Beijing, but the fact that we in this country do not possess the moral clarity or strength of purpose to deal ruthlessly with drug peddlers and other enemies of our society. The drug-fuelled, crime-ridden, welfare-dependent, fear-filled inner city housing estate in modern Britain is far more savage than any place of execution in China for a trafficker of human misery.”
China’s online community is coming out in mass to support the move.
“River of Justice” writes at the popular Sina forum “Everyone is equal before the law. No matter who he is, a Chinese or a foreigner, the result is the death penalty when he commits such a crime.”
Another reader named “Du Yunqing” says “In the past, we weren’t able to kill a foreigner who commits a crime (on Chinese land) because you (British) got the consular jurisdiction using guns and cannons; Nowadays, you stop interfering on our own land where we have the right to do so.”
Chinasmack is worth a read – it has the latest on Chinese reaction – 99% in favour of the court’s decision. Some BBC listeners also agree:
“I am sick of people wailing for mercy. If you get caught with drugs abroad expect the laws of that land. We have a problem here because we’re too soft” commented Lyn on the BBC 5live breakfast show.
And for many, Mr. Shaikh’s reported mental illness makes no difference.
Earlier this year a British woman was found to be carrying drugs in Laos. She was spared the death penalty because she was pregnant. Do individual circumstances matter?
“Good riddance to a drug smuggler. Simple as that”, says BBC listener Owen in Wales.
Is it really that simple?
Is the best way to crack down on drug smuggling to bring in the death penalty? Or does the death penalty show a government’s weakness to confront difficult social issues?