The prosecution of naturalized American citizen Xue Feng, which concluded on February 18, is a vivid reminder that China’s abuses of criminal justice can reach even those who steer clear of politics and human rights.
Posts Tagged ‘ State Secrets ’
What can a government do when it believes a foreign government has unjustly detained one of its nationals? This month’s dangerous dispute between China and Japan understandably focused attention on their conflicting claims of sovereignty over the uninhabited islets known as the Diaoyu or Senkaku. Yet the methods used by China to free a fishing trawler captain from criminal investigation in Japan are undoubtedly being studied by countries that have similar problems in China and elsewhere.
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Whether in the United States, China or elsewhere, the struggle for fairness in the administration of criminal justice is never-ending. The challenge is especially daunting when prosecuting “state secrets” cases. China’s July 5 sentencing of naturalized American citizen Xue Feng to eight years imprisonment for helping his American employer purchase a commercial database on Chinese oil resources is the latest example of how not to meet that challenge.
Most countries, including the United States, struggle to strike a balance between the need to keep some government information secret in the interest of national security and the need to provide free access to most information in the interest of popular participation and economic development.