Thursday, October 05, 2006

China: Kowtow Now?

On Sky News, Dominic Waghorn reveals that the Chinese have improved the efficiency of their judiciary by using execution buses. These travel around the country killing people found guilty, frequently of something they haven't done. More than 99 per cent of people charged with a capital crime in China are executed. Evidence is irrelevant, confessions are extracted by torture. Somewhere between 3,500 and 10,000 people are executed annually so, just on official figures, China executes more people than the rest of the world put together. Why do they do this? To harvest organs for profit certainly. But that can't be all. Social control? But they don't seem to execute with that end in mind. No, there must be some form of deep acceptance that capricious judicial killing is somehow just the way of things.
And so one comes to the matter of the Olympics. Once I thought this was an obscenity, if only because of the brutal occupation of Tibet. Then I was persuaded that engaging with China was the way to civilise her and, of course, Chinese productivity has been one of the primary factors behind low world inflation and high growth. But Waghorn's fine and shocking reporting is the second thing in recent days that has made me think again. The first was a friend who, on returning from China, told me he had discussed Mao's blood bath - 70 million dead - with a highly intelligent Chinese, who said present day Chinese didn't care because, after all, they weren't dead were they? The blood - mine this time - ran cold. Kowtow now? After this, how?

4 comments:

  1. In fact, one further memory. At some official dinner, I was sitting next to a diplomat's wife who had lived in China for some years. I mentioned something about the millions of Mao's victims. She observed, suavely, 'Well, it is a very big country.' I declined to talk to her for the rest of the evening.

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  2. Hard little bastards, the Chinese, untouched and untouchable by any Christian Revelation and apparently impervious to it. They shouldn't be pandered to by the liberal west.

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  3. George Walden, who lived in China during the Mao years, says I should look on the bright side. Things have improved, even at the rate of 10,000 executions a year, he is quite right. Taking Mao's reign to start in 1954 (it might be said to be 1949) and last until his death in 1976, he managed to kill people at the rate of 3.2 million a year. Nevertheless, I can't help finding the buses a worrying omen.

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  4. After all, they are communists even if they pretend to be capitalists. God... I sound more and more like a conservative on this blog! ;)

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