Sunday, October 19, 2008


Maureen Fan writes today on the web site of The Washington Post that a court in China has sentenced an Olympic official to death for taking millions in bribes. The court then gave a reprieve from the death sentence.

Reports Fan:

"Liu Zhihua, 59, oversaw construction, real estate, sports and traffic projects for the Beijing Olympic Games until he was fired in June 2006 over charges of corruption and bad morals. His high-profile antics and "decadent lifestyle" attracted the shocked attention of the country's top leaders, according to Chinese media reports."

The official is lucky in receiving a reprieve. How many others in China are sentenced to death, and then suffer the execution of the sentence?

When will "civilized" countries do away with the death sentence? I mean not only China but the United States, Iraq and Iran?

Proponents claim the death penalty prevents and deters other criminals from committing serious crimes. But there is no credible evidence that this is true. Other proponents say that the death penalty is a just penalty, in other words, proportional retribution for crimes that offend society. But why should the state take a person's life, no matter how serious a crime was committed? Saddam Hussein should not have been hanged; that was cruel and violent and unworthy of the state of Iraq. And certainly no one can argue that the death penalty "rehabilitates" because the condemned loses his life and his chance to reform.

The death penalty is cruel and unusual and inflicts horrible physical and emotional punishment on the condemned. A state, given all its power, overreaches its powers when it condemns and then executes the person convicted. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the death penalty deters others.

The United States is just as guilty of inflicting cruel and unusual punishment via the death penalty as the rest of the unenlightened countries that put their citizens to death.

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