China’s decision to press ahead and execute Akmal Shaikh is repellant : for once Gordon Brown speaks for us all when he says, “I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted”.
But there are two things that have most forcibly struck me about this case: the impotence of the United Kingdom and its diplomatic effort, and China’s intemperate reaction to criticism.
From the FT.com report this morning
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said in Beijing that no country has the right to comment on China’s judicial sovereignty. “It is the common wish of people around the world to strike against the crime of drug trafficking. We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the British government’s unreasonable criticism of the case. We urge the British to correct their mistake in order to avoid harming China-UK relations,’’ she said.
There is no mistake; and, whether China likes it or not, any country has the right to comment on China’s judicial sovereignty.
Whether as at Copenhagen, or as in this sad case, it seems that the unspoken excuse of the Chinese leadership for the actions it takes, or more often does not, is its domestic situation. That should not deter us from condemning it.