Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Good news?

China has condemned confessions extracted by torture, and promised to crack down on the practice after an innocent man was jailed for 11 years after confessing to murdering his wife. They've even promised to hold police legally responsible if torture is "severe" (though what counts as "severe" in China is anyone's guess).

This is good news - assuming they actually stick to it.


The "Sydney Morning Herald" summarises a law journal article by a former Serbian, now Australian law professor, justifying the use of torture. Margot Kingston writes that bureaucrats have demonstrated, over and over again, that they cannot be trusted with power. However, she reports the Howard government softening the Australian people up for law changes either permitting torture or admitting evidence obtained under torture into proceedings. Question for NZ: when the Aussies bang on about us being "soft on terrorism", and the cry is picked up by right-wing MPs, will we follow suit?

Posted by Anonymous : 5/18/2005 06:41:00 PM

I will fight it tooth and nail.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/18/2005 07:02:00 PM

Australia's far more conservative than NZ. It wouldn't surprise me if one of their govts introduced torture and everyone still voted for them. Can't see us following suit though - except for the fact that technically we already have tortured Ahmed Zaoui by keeping him in solitary for two years. And that by Labour politicians as well - maybe gloom is justified.

China is still a totalitarian dictatorship - if their govt condemns torture, it's presumably talking only about freelance torture by local officials. I can't understand the free ride these murderous scumbags that run China get from the world's media.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/18/2005 10:05:00 PM

hehe China gets excellent press even when its in regard to its long tradition of forcing false testimony out of people via tourture.

It shows just how far maintaining low expectations can get you.
Obiously the USA is making a fundimental mistake in its approach.

Posted by Genius : 5/19/2005 06:11:00 PM

China gets (qualified, cynical) praise because it is showing some sign of moving in the right direction. The US OTOH seems to goign the other way...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/20/2005 07:22:00 PM

The best strategy therefore is to be EXTREEMLY selfish and pragmatic and then make vague hints that you might stop doing it eventually (but never significantly close that gap).
If the US had maintained that posture over the years it would probably not be subject to as much critique/opposition as it is now. Other countries can learn much from the US's strategic error.

Posted by Genius : 5/20/2005 10:53:00 PM

It may sound like I am being ridiculous but actually I am being quite serious.

Comentators do collectively have power and that power is at the moment being directed at the USA in such a way that probably most of he world thinks that the usa is rather worse than places like china - worst of all many powerful chinese think the US is downright evil (I note from personal experience). At some point this has to start telling even if it just manifests itself in the UN generally opposing the evil countries like the USA and france and britain and germany etc.

I note that in the long run - by opposing the only countries that you have influence over you fundimentally undermine your own influence.

Maybe it is just an example of the west being unable to think of the long term plan.

I suggest you should hurry up and focus on china and india because "lost case" or not they will rule the world in 50 odd years so we will have to live by their system.

let's hope it is an ok one.

Posted by Genius : 5/20/2005 11:13:00 PM