Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Irony of History

China executed a British citizen today for heroin smuggling, despite strenuous protests from the British government, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown. China responded as follows,

Beijing called the British criticism groundless interference in its judicial sovereignty. ... "Nobody has the right to speak ill of China's judicial sovereignty," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. "We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition over the groundless British accusations."
It's a measure of just how far Britain has fallen in the world, that China can execute a British citizen and just brush off criticism -- and not just brush it off, but actually condemn the UK for daring to offer any criticism at all.

In the mid-19th century, the British actually fought two wars with China, the Opium Wars, in order to force the Chinese to allow the opium trade -- which was against Chinese law -- and to protect British smugglers. They succeeded. Now in the 21st century, they are powerless to protect a single smuggler from execution. It's yet another measure of how far Britain has fallen, and how far China has risen.

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