Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Hole to Bury You 

Very interesting couple of articles in the Asia Wall Street Journal. They aren't in the same part of the paper, and the fact that they both occurred in the same issue may be coincidence, but I thought it was interesting.

The first concerns a professor in China who was roughed up by police after trying to visit a dissident. His report on the incident is very well written, and convincingly condemning of the Chinese approach to law enforcement (putting human rights safeguard into law and then dutifully ignoring those safeguards). The other article is about a young Black kid with no money who was accused of a murder he did not commit.

It's interesting. When you read the story by the Chinese professor, you get a picture of China's cops as goons and thugs who have no respect for law. But the professor was free after a very short period of time. This does not justify what they did to him, of course, but what he suffered at the hands of the Chinese legal system is nothing compared to what the Black kid went through in the American system. He was not roughed up at all. But he did spend 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and ended up getting out because, and only because he acted as his own lawyer, and would not let the case die.

The second story does not mitigate the first. But what it does point out is that, while the legal system in China certainly needs reform, if China ever has a mind to reform the legal system, China must not follow the American model. Both legal systems are seriously in need of reform. Both systems have deep flaws built into the standard procedure that almost guarantee injustice.

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