How “irresponsible” of Australia’s government to publicly express concern about Stern Hu’s secret trial and ridiculously harsh punishment. Said Mr Rudd:
“The trial on the second charge was held in secret with no media and no Australian officials present for it.
“This has left, therefore, serious unanswered questions about this conviction. And holding this part of the trial in secret, China, I believe, has missed an opportunity to demonstrate to the world at large transparency that would be consistent with its emerging global role.”
Understandably, Chinese officials were outraged at having people keep going on about the fact that they regularly cloak their courts in secrecy – that defeats the whole point! Angrily snarled foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang, completely ignoring the specific criticism that had been made:
“We express serious concern about the Australian statements on the Rio Tinto case,” Mr Qin said. “The Rio case is a criminal case and the Chinese side has already given its verdict. Australia should respect this outcome and stop making irresponsible comments.”
Note the use of the words “the Chinese side” rather than “the independent court”.
Seriously, China – I know we can’t do anything about it but watch, but outside your magic external-world-excluding censorship zone, much of the rest of the planet is well aware of what secret trials mean. We’re well aware of what happens when the “law” is just a cover for the powerful punishing their opponents – where the difference between the person in jail and the person in the Politburo is not whether they’re corrupt or not, but whether they fell out of favour or not. You wanted to scare the hell out of foreign businessmen to ensure their compliance when in your country? Well, mission accomplished – although, unlike your people, they don’t actually have to be in your country. And if you want to demonstrate that you are happy to exert extreme power against anyone within your reach who pisses you off, then fear not, you did, message received – but you can’t simultaneously expect the rest of the world to help you whitewash it as “justice”.