Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Maybe we could learn something from the Chinese

Apparently China doesn't mess around when it comes to public corruption. The head of the Chinese equivalent of the FDA was sentenced to death for taking bribes to approve substandard medicines.

I have some substantial qualms about the death penalty in general. My primary concern has always been the level of certainty needed to impose that kind of penalty. But, in theory, assuming that "certainty" can be achieved, I don't believe there is any moral or ethical problem with society imposing the death penalty -- so long as it is administered in a transparent and unbiased manner.

And that's what intrigues me about this story: the penalty here is imposed on someone at the highest level of society. Someone who must be (or have been) completely wired in to the power structure. That, my friends, could never happen in this country. Aside from issues of proof, China seems to have the right idea in that they are willing to impose the harshest penalty available on anyone who commits a severe crime regardless of their social standing -- it is not reserved for only the most ignorant and downtrodden members of society.

It's also worth noting that there is some, er, immediacy involved in carrying out the sentence: " Zheng is likely to be executed by lethal injection within weeks. If he does not appeal, the sentence could be carried out much sooner."

1 comment:

Gleemonex said...

Holy crap, they don't fuck around, do they?

I totally agree with your thoughts on the death penalty -- and the most amazing thing about this instance of it, from an American perspective, is the willingness to impose it on a person of this class/stature, like you said ... major food for thought.