May 2008

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« Global Warming – Part 4 | Main | Old Fashioned Words »


Paul C

Could be worse, as in the old days the Chinese had this thing where they bound a miscreant up tightly in a wire-mesh jacket, then sliced off all the bits that protruded through the mesh... slowly, leisurely and bit-by-bit, over a period of days or weeks. It was called the "Death Of A Thousand Cuts".

No THERE's a deterrent... nice and cheap, as all you need is some closely woven wire mesh and a shaving razor..


Scott... You are such a manipulator... The death penalty is wrong. Period. If you want to punish your guy, put him on forced labour for life. I bet most Politicians would prefer the death penalty instead of doing an actual day's work. Now, that would be punishment AND deterrent.


I do not believe there is a single situation in which the Death Penalty is appropriate. I simply cannot understand how it helps.

When you execute a killer, do the people they killed come back to life? Do their families miss them less? All you get is one more death on top of all the others.

How can they get across the message that it is wrong to kill if they are themselves executing people who commit the crime?

The justice system in most democratic countries is supposed to be based on the idea of punishment and rehabilitation, That is certainly the case in Britain and I believe that it is supposed to be so in the US. Exactly how do you go about rehabilitating the dead guy?

It would be great if there was a swift and sure way of deterring people from murder, corruption and other crimes. I think these crimes are symptoms of deeper problems that are inherent in modern society in any country.

If you could build a Utopia in which every citizen buys in to and has responsibility for maintaining all that is good about the life they are living then every single crime from littering to rape to Murder would be punished by exclusion from that perfect life.

I seem to have digressed a little, my point was that the death penalty is never appropriate as the dead cannot learn anything from the experience. The emphasis should be on justice and not revenge.


Stretch: are you serious about your details on strike-hard campaigns? I only heard about this concept from the Star Trek episode 'Justice', dating back to around 1988...


China seldomly sentenses corrupted officials to death in recent years since many are "concerning" chinese human rights. Most of the caught big corrupted officials like Zheng would get a life-time sentence.

This case is very special. He gained by putting others' lives in danger.

car free since '93

I realize I'm on the wrong topic, but one more word on Global Warming... People are obviously very poor at judging the dangers in their futures, even with ample warning. Look at all the overweight people. Look at all the people who can't be bothered to exercise. Look at the people who continue to drink even though they've lost their license, their spouse, their health, everything. How about smokers? Do you think any of them grasp the harm they are inflicting on themselves? I wouldn't trust the majority to want to change, even if they know the dangers. It's not going to be easy enough for the majority of people. If they have to do ANYTHING, that's going to be too much for most people.

CFS '93


I wonder how many politicians would resign if there was a death penalty for corruption in the UK or US...

Name Withheld

Executing politicians is nothing to applaud, and certainly the Chinese state needs no encouragement in that direction.
Execution has many advantages when you are dealing with your political opponents... because there's no way for them to interfere once they're dead, so if there is any way to create a pretext for a legal execution it becomes an attractive political option... but not, strictly a _democratic_ one.

Refusing the death penalty has been seen as a mark of civilisation since ancient times and anything the ancient Greeks believed is usually considered a good model for a "western democracy" even today. They favoured exile for corrupt politicians... but in the modern world it would have to be imprisonment - still the most common penalty for corruption in China.


I'm with Terry Pratchett on this. All politicians should serve an automatic 5 year jail term BEFORE they can take office. It will weed out those not serious about their jobs and perhaps act as a deterrent to further nonsense. Mark Twain would be proud...


2. Sometimes we convict the wrong guy, as DNA testing has shown.
* A crime was committed and someone was hanged, so on general, justice was done. I mean, they were bound to be guilty of something!
I still think democracy is the best form of government.
* As Sir Winston Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst possible form of government. But I don't know any other"


Convicting the wrong guy in a death penalty case is not such a problem if the crime is a politician accepting bribes.

After all, they're still a politician. They must be guilty of something.


It's just like in Soviet Union.

jerry w.

"But I’d be willing to make an exception for politicians that take bribes. That sort of behavior threatens the integrity of the entire system."

"integrity of the entire system"?????

Exactly which system did you have in mind that has even a trace of integrity?

There is not a White House resident, senator or congressperson that isn't already deeply in the pocket of someone, some country, or some corporation.

It's important that you know that in the political world, "Job 1" is to get elected, and "Job 2" is to get re-elected. After those jobs are done, we the people are dumped on our own, as these pious a-holes keep their snouts in the trough sucking up the bucks.

What would take to get things going right again?

1. Get rid of the electoral college; one person, one vote, add the total votes for an office and that's it. So simple only a political science major could understand it.

2. Adopt the policy of China that you mentioned. It wouldn't take any more than a dozen or so public executions before even the most greedy of the bunch got the message that the life long free lunch is over.

3. Realize that in accepting the two party system, your choice is not a choice other than would you like to be tossed into a cage full of lions or a cage full of tigers? The end result is more or less the same, you're just so much poop when the day is done.

O.K., my meds are kicking in, end of rant (for now).

Peace out....


We'd be a very quiet country here in Africa if we did that...

Jason Allen

This was all a public relations stunt. They "caught" one corrupt official out of untold millions. Corruption is rampant in the Chinese government, as it is in most governments. Power corrupts.

We are already becoming more like China. Thanks to the prevailing political winds that are still blowing, our constitutional rights are degrading into a totalitarian system. US government officials can tap our phones, read our email, peruse our library lending history, and even detain us in Guantanamo with out due process. The difference is most Americans don't have the balls to stand in front of tanks to win back our rights. Anyone remember the Tiananmen Square massacre?


Hey Scott, did you read this story about the kids in China,

very nice message for the chinese children, isn't it?


You mean Zheng couldn't find a guy to bribe his way out of this mess he's in? What a loser.

Besides, what's wrong with this scene is that the bribes were used to get some work done. And it worked for the bribe-giver. This is why so many people lost their lives. What we need is mindless corruption - the kind where you pay money, and nothing happens anyway.


Regarding the conviction of Zheng Xiaoyu in China, he was given the right to appeal, not always automatic in China, and is expected to have his sentence reduced to life imprisonment. The normal situation is that the sentence is carried out immediately after the trial, but this is a much larger case than just one dodgy politician. Tens of people were investigated and charged, including his wife and son.

The reality is that he was sentenced to death purely for political reasons: China has lost control of its officials because of rampant corruption. Other more democratic countries have rampant political corruption too, as the recent suicide of Toshikatsu Matsuoka , the Japanese Agriculture Minsiter, has shown. Japan is famous for its suicides, but a Minister hasn't committed suicide since the Minsiter of War killed himself for having failed to win the war in the pacific against America.

I wish all politicians and powerful people had the same sense of honesty and integrity as he obviously had even if belatedly, but enforcing the Death Penalty for such cases will only make the stakes higher.

Faced with death such people will resort to using any means available: films such as "Enemy of the State" will become a parody of everyday life as each countries' security forces turn inwards upon the very people they are meant to protect.

This is of course unlikely to happen because most people don't care. As long as most people have their bread and circuses, whether that be McDonalds or Reality TV shows, then the minority of people who vote will continue voting for whoever has the most amount of money to fund a slick campaign. The "Pigs in clover society" to quote David Cornwall: why worry when life appears so good.

The problem is not the corrupt politicians, but the people who don't vote them out of office. Maybe we should impose the death penalty on those who don't vote?

Billy B

"1. Death sentences costs tax payers more than life sentences because of the lengthy automatic appeals."

In this country because it is a business here protecting others even if they are clearly guilty. It's all about the economy of attorneys and making their wallets fat.

But it's not that way in all countries. DNA tests are all well and fine, but when ten people see something happen, well, just saying.

I'm wondering how fallible DNA testing is anyway.


I think we should enact preemptive strikes and execute all politicians now.


I am an Aussie working in China for the last 10 years and have heard numerous stories of Managers being 'taken out the back and shot' for poor performance, bad quality, etc. Hopefully 'old wives tales' as I am in QA myself!

Also for the corruptee, if they are caught by officials it is usually because it has become too high profile (as in this case) or more often because the next person in line for the bribes has reported them, and will take their place. Then on the other hand they risk being killed by the corruptors, if they damage the 'business' or start asking for too much or lower the corruption standards! Kind of a no win situation!

I see almost daily that the corruption is so blatant and open and I wonder how the government can say they are fighting it, when it is often the government people receiving the benefits?

Sorry... have to go... we just failed a QA audit and my bullet is waiting...

D. Mented

I'd much rather see the death penalty for anyone who takes a position of power over other people's lives and then acts like it's all a game and other people don't count, than death penalty for some obnoxious asshole who killed one or two people and can't affor O.J.'s lawyers.
After all, has anybody who ever got the death penalty in America ever caused as many pointless deaths as Georgie the second? (don't forget to count Iraquis who've died because of all those WMD that were aimed right at us along with the Americans and other coalition soldiers)
I'd even go for doctors and judges that act in complete indifference to human life (like the judge who presided over death penalty cases while jacking his joystick with a penis pump...true story)
D. Mented


A lot of people point out that the Chinese government bill families for executions, but this is normal in most countries with execution by firing squad including the USA (where applicable).


I have to admit, this entry did still raise a smile, but if you or any of the other readers of this blog have a moment to look into something more serious, consider looking over the following -

I'm certainly glad that we're not like China.

Larry L.

I have to disagree that China's form of government is closing the gap on democracy. I suspect that your comic strip would be censored, and possibly banned in Communist China. And, if you like the idea of corrupt politicians being executed, just wait until you see the inside of a communist prison for crimes against the state, such as writing a cartoon or blog the politicians do not like.

You said it best that they are executing this guy because he became an embarrassment. But, if he wasn't discovered, or put into the public light, nothing would have happened. This government has some of the worst human-rights records ever. Just because they have learned to be capitalists, beating us at our own game, does not make them any less disconcerting. How soon we forget the scenes of students in front of tanks and later being shot before the world because they wanted to be free like you and me. I hope you really don't admire that kind of govenment.

The Chinese government does not impress me. It concerns me, as it should all Americans.

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