Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Very interesting article in the Asia Wall Street Journal. The article concerns Jude Shao, who, according to the Journal, was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for refusing to pay a bribe. That's a strong charge. I don't mean the charge against Jude Shao. I mean the Wall Street Journal's charge that he was imprisoned because and only because he refused to pay a bribe. Such an accusation begs for substantiation. In fairness to the journal, his trial wasn't exactly open. And they did bring up the fact that China's own top legal experts at People's University have basically said the case is a crock.

Here's what I think. Jude Shao will eventually get out of prison. When he does, he will write his book. Then, the case that was not allowed to be presented in open trial will be tried again in the court of public opinion. Many questions will be addressed. Was he indeed solicited for a bribe by the very officials who were investigating him? If this turns out to be true, China's image before the world will take a hit like no other. There are other cases, of course. Like the infamous betrayal by Yahoo of one of their customers. But that case is different. That guy was trumpeted as a victim because he was sentenced for something that would not have been against the law in the United States. But he wasn't in the United States. What he did was against the law in China, and he knew it was against the law. In the case of Jude Shao, the Wall Street Journal is trying to make the case that he was framed because he refused to be involved in China's rampant corruption. And their statement is supported by the judgement of China's own top legal experts that the case is seriously flawed.

I am not quite ready to start yelling that the sky is falling just because the Wall Street Journal is making that charge. And the title of the article (China's American Prisoner) is a bit misleading. I know, a citizen is a citizen. But we cannot expect the Chinese government to treat a Chinese national who goes abroad long enough to get a passport and then comes back to China and tries to use that passport as a shield for criminal activity (if that is indeed what happened) the same way they would treat an ignorant foreigner who makes a few missteps wading through the process of operating a business in a strange country. Still, if Jude Shao is innocent, China will pay dearly. The only way they can avoid this is to be proactive, and beat him to the punch. They need to go after the auditor who solicited the bribe (if that is indeed what happened) and put him away for a long time. At least give him the same sentence that was meted out to his victim.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?