Akmal Shaikh executed in China for drug smuggling, has Polish children and was married to a Pole: but Warsaw, unlike London, is not asking for his mercy.
"I have not heard about his case and the Office of the President has not taken any action," Paweł Wypych said on behalf of President Lech Kaczynski. Poland’s Foreign Ministry also said that it did not know the details of the case.
Akmal was living with his Polish wife and two children in Poland until the marriage broke up. The British man stayed in Poland but got in trouble with the police in Lublin, charged with drunken driving and other crimes. He became homeless and fell into financial trouble.
Due to his illness he became convinced that he would become a pop star in China and eventually turned up in the country in 2008 with 4 kg of heroin in his possession.
The execution of the British citizen Akmal Sheikh has turned into the predictacle political spat. Claims about his mental health and his duping into acting as a drugs mules may or may not be true, but certainly Sheikh was a man given to serial womanising, abandoning his family and making statements in favour of Islamist terrorism.
None of that means Sheikh should have been executed as the death penalty is inhumane but it is a given platitudinal reaction when a British citizen gets caught out smuggling drugs that they were "dupes" and "victims" as the the British government will protect their citizens from remaining on death row or being executed.
The Chinese were not going to listen to the prating of a New Labour regime in Britain whose government that has colluded in supporting jihadists in the past in Central Asia nor of colluding in CIA torture or "terrorist suspects".
"Given its economic progress ... the leadership and the population feel pretty good about themselves. They are in no mood to take lessons, moral or otherwise, from the west."
Johnathan Fenby had it right and no matter of prating from a medium sized European nation with a history of colonial involvement in China is going to be taken seriously as Britain has lost whatever moral authority it posessed after supporting the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Before people roll their eyes and say 'oh God what's Iraq got to do with it ' this matters still because every Western double standards can be exploited by Great Powers like China: Britain opposed the death penalty for an individual but premeditatedly its liberal democratic state invades nations in the sure knowledge people will get killed.
The crude utilitarian argument used within some circles within Britain for bringing back the death penalty by those like Thatcher etc is that it acts as a deterrent and overall saves more innocent lives that might be lost by mistakes : this is the same reason for invading a nation to "liberate" it.
Namely, that mistakes happen "collateral damage" but the sum total of suffering is reduced, a very British utilitarian argument, though a perverted one. Blair evaded the issue of Saddam's excution in 2006 and repeated the robotic mantra that Britain does not support the death penalty. Blair could not asnwer the question of whether he denounced the execution,
When it comes to this specific individual Brown exploits it to grandstand over it in a moral sense,expressing the "personal revulsion" he did not when Saddam was executed. Saddam was a dictator who murdered people whereas this drug dupe Akmal Shaikh was only a charlatan and a somewhat pathetic desperado.
China's refusal to entertain numerous clemency pleas from Shaikh's family and the government was a political as much as a judicial decision. Gordon Brown declared himself "appalled".
China will not take lessons from those who prate human rights and act in a very different way. As in outsourcing production to repugnant totalitarian regime which use executed prisoners organs for donation at a price, a new spin on the concept of "human resources". Simon Tisadall wrote in the Guardian on 12 January 2009.
Ivan Lewis, a Foreign Office minister, went even further in a BBC interview.
Lewis said the execution was a "deeply depressing day for anyone with a modicum of compassion or commitment to justice in Britain and throughout the world ... As that country [China] plays a greater role in the world they have to understand their responsibility to adhere to the most basic standards of human rights. China will only be fully respected when and if they make the choice to join the human rights mainstream."
China does not care because China funds Western debt fuelled consumerism, a policy promoted with zeal by Gordon Brown, a spent force and a soon to be forgotten lame duck Prime Minister from an era of delusions in which the world was to be remodelled according to neoliberal globalisation .
Russia had pursued neoliberalism after 1990 and the result was state collapse, reduced power, the collapse of its land based empire, the mass immiseration of its people and US triumphalism and West's rip off of its assets to a tune of $300 billion.All in the name of "democratic geopolitics".
China decided not to take that path offered by those using human rights as a cynical tool to advocate "open societies" open to Western commericial power, dominance and control as had happened in the C19th as the Opium Wars and the Open Door policy promoted by the USA and other Western nation demonstrate.
Whilst China realised that human rights were merely a tool of imperial "Westernism" and acted to assert national sovereignty, consolidate the state and produce the goods underpinning Western consumerism, the reaction in the West was largely positive with human rights agendas slipping out of view as Lord Rees Mogg of the Times praises Chinese leaders.
Getting Asians to slave away to make cheeper goods for spolit Western consumers was part of the feelgood factor, even if executed prisoners, continued concentration slave camps, the subjugation of Tibet and so on was known when outsourcing and debt fuelled consumerism was promoted.
Lewis and Brown's statements count for nothing: Britain is not respected, has no global standing and has sunk in its future with the declining superpower in the USA that used human rights to prize open Iraq , get the TAPI pipeline built to block off Chinese and Iranian collusion through the IPI.
Unfortunately, the US invasion of Iraq to control and develop Iraqi oil cost exhorbitant amounts of money, propelled imperial overstretch further and, together with the financial crash of 2008, has meant that the oil concessions it intended to control are being parcelled out to the in large amounts to the Chinese.
If Britain and Brown had cared for human rights so much they should not have bought into the fashionable guff from those like the moronic Charles Leadbetter about Living on Thin Air, the service economy and all that which now acts as a mere conduit for the large amounts of capital from the Chinese super-economy.
The main point is this: Britain made a Faustian bargain with China and seldom upsets the "Chimerica", the convenient relationship that the UK has slavishly and cravenly emulated to keep consumer buying cheap goods, one reason why complete dolts like Brendan O'Neill of Spiked write about not "knocking China".
The efforts of Vaclav Havel to defend human rights in an open letter to President Hu Jintao and the dissident author, Liu Xiaobo, jailed for 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power" and Chinese repression in Tibet are negated by the fact Havel destroyed his credibillity in supporting the US invasion of Iraq.
Moreover, New Labour and Rupert Murdoch and the liberal BBC have genuflected to China for numerous reasons: the criticism of China in the Western media in miniscule compared to Russia because the West "lost" control over Russia when Putin reasserted Russian power in 1999 and China is a huge emerging power in a way Russia is not.
In China those propenents of global neoliberalism had to deal with a totalitarian regime that massacred opponents and could be taken seriously as a Great Power that the West could not manipulate by perverting human rights as a tool for coalitioning opposition forces. China wanted to avoid Russian weakness.
So China developed its own mandarin brand of neoconservatism without the double standards in pretending to affecting to believe in human rights the reality and "is" needs to be seperated from "ought" just to see things more clearly: the West sold out its principles wholsale when human rights where made a tool of US imperial expansion, despite all the rationalisations from "enlightened self interest"
The late JG Ballard who witnessed Western weakness and the war of the world in Shanghai as a boy commented in the New Statesman on the reversal from the dominance of the British Empire he was born into and the rise of the China he saw under attack in 1937 wrote in 2005 the
Downing Street apparatus that has assembled itself around him, a public relations firm pretending to be a brainier, British White House. Blair is our president, but he has little real power. The inertial forces that lock Britain into its past are too great for him, and all the levers in his hands have snapped.
Blair took us into Iraq because he was flattered to be summoned from the lower school and invited into the senior prefect's study. Bush and the neo-cons are driven by emotion, and this appeals to Blair. The emotions are the one language that he understands, and reality is defined by what he feels he ought to believe.
He commands no battle groups, and Britain's per capita income is one of the lowest in western Europe. Without the largely foreign-owned City of London the whole country would be a suburb of Longbridge, retraining as an offshore call-centre servicing the Chinese super-economy.