Akmal Shaikh was convicted for serious drug trafficking. The amount of heroin he brought into China was 4030g, enough to cause 26800 deaths, threatening numerous families. According to the Chinese law, 50g of heroin is the threshold for death penalty. It is important that the independence of the Chinese judiciary be respected.
During the legal process, Mr. Shaikh’s rights and interests were properly respected and guaranteed and the concerns of the British side were duly noted and taken into consideration by the Chinese judicial authorities. Out of humanitarian consideration, visas were granted to the two cousins of Mr. Shaikh on Boxing Day, and they were given access to meeting Mr. Shaikh in China.
As for his possible mental illness which has been much talked about, there apparently has been no previous medical record.
Drug trafficking is a grave crime worldwide. In China, given the bitter memory of history and the current situations, the public has a particular and strong resentment towards it. In a recent web survey, 99% of the public support the decision of the Court.
In China the conditions are not there for abolishing the death penalty. But it is applied in a cautious manner and limited number, all such cases are reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The legal structures of China and UK may be different, but it should not stand in the way of enhancing our bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect.