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China’s rough injustice

The execution of Akmal Shaikh completely undermines the idea that economic success brings with it social and political liberalisation

Few people will have missed the outcry over China’s decision to execute British national Akmal Shaikh, despite evidence that he had been duped into unknowingly transporting 4kg of heroin into the country. It was argued that Shaikh had bipolar disorder and a delusional personality; he thought he was going to China to record a song about a Little Rabbit which would inspire world peace. On the basis of his mental illness, Britain made 27 ministerial pleas for clemency; Gordon Brown discussed his case with China’s president Hu Jintao several months ago and then with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao when they…

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