The Chinese government decided to ring in the new year early by executing a British man, Akmal Shaikh, who was described as mentally ill. What was Mr. Shaikh’s offense? He was caught smuggling 4 kg of heroin into China.
Since China is a member of the United Nations, I would like to provide them with a friendly reminder that all UN members are expected to abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDR). Article 5 of the UDHR states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” I believe that lethal injection is tantamount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture.
Steve Hynd writes about, in a very good blog entry, his opposition towards the use of the death penalty. In it, he notes that China executes people for offenses such as “tax evasion, fraud, robbery.” The logic is simple or isn’t simple, as he continues, because murderers and rapists are executed, but people who avoid paying their taxes? (Note: Mr. Hynd opposes the death penalty under any circumstance, as do I)
China’s new year’s resolution should be to abolish executing people, period. The only thing Chinese authorities should be executing is the use of the death penalty. If things do not change, it’s more than likely someone will be put to death for the Spring Festival. Let’s hope this does not happen.