Tuesday, December 29, 2009

68 Ways to Get Yourself Executed In China

Yesterday, Briton Akmal Shaikh was executed in Urumqi for smuggling four kilos of heroin into China. His family claimed that he was mentally ill. The British government sternly condemned the sentence.

Now, I'm no fan of the death penalty. But you have to appreciate the irony of the British government, which intentionally set out to make opium addicts out of thousands, if not millions, of Chinese citizens in the 18th and 19th century (and humiliated the Chinese in a series of wars), lecturing China on the proper treatment of one Briton who was caught red handed smuggling heroin INTO China.

Apparently, there are 68 capital punishment-eligible offenses in China. Click here and go to page four for the full list. Most are obvious: treason, murder, spying. But some are kinda out there. They include breaching a dike and digging fossils of ancient vertebrate animals. Finally, I note that despite the severity of the punishment for graft and bribe-taking, capital punishment has had no preventative effect on these crimes in China.

I'll end this post with a bit of trivia. The last European to be executed in China was Shanghai-born, Italian World War I ace Antonio Riva. He was executed in 1951 for a plot to kill Mao Zedong.

No comments: