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James Reynolds | 13:06 UK time, Thursday, 27 November 2008

We've reported on an appeal made by a woman whose father has been sentenced to death for espionage.

Ran ChenOn Wednesday Ran Chen spoke to the BBC - on what she believed to be the eve of her father's execution.

On Thursday morning she was allowed to visit her father, Wo Weihan, for the first time in four years. Ms Chen believed this was a last gesture by the authorities before her father's execution.

After her visit, Ran Chen held a news conference. I'll quote in detail from what she told us, because it's extremely rare to get an insight into how a case like this proceeds in China. The legal system in this country operates amid great secrecy. China doesn't disclose how many people it executes every year, but human rights organisations charge that China executes more people than any other country in the world.

Most families involved in death penalty cases don't speak to the media. But Ran Chen has more freedom to talk because she holds a foreign passport (she obtained Austrian nationality several years ago - her father still holds Chinese citizenship).

This is what she told us.

In the morning, Ms Chen and her stepmother went to the Second Intermediate Court of Beijing:

"Before we went in there we had to sign a paper. We were told in a separate room what the rules were for such a family visitation and we were not allowed to bring any paper or pen. We were not allowed to bring anything apart from three or four photos."

Her father had been taken to the court from a prison hospital. He hadn't seen his family for four years.

"It was a complete surprise to him. He said he was sleeping this morning and then the people came and just took him to the court. He was sitting there and then all of a sudden we came in the door and he was very happy to see us... He was calm - he was obviously much older now. He has aged."

The meeting was heavily monitored.

"There was a glass window and I was sitting [on one side] with his wife. And he was sitting on the other side and there were two officials behind him. He was in handcuffs. And behind me were about five to six officials and also a video camera. So the whole conversation was taped."

There were restrictions as to what they were allowed to talk about.

"One of the rules was that we were not allowed to discuss the case. Whenever my father started to speak about the case he was told not to speak about the case."

But there was something Ms Chen had to know.

A few days ago, a low-ranking court official told the family by phone that the Supreme People's Court - China's highest court - had reviewed and approved Mr Wo's execution. Since the start of 2007, this court has had to review all death penalty cases in China. An approval clears the way for a death sentence to be carried out at any time.

But the family hadn't received this final verdict in writing. It didn't know whether or not it should rely on news given over the phone by a minor official.

So, Ms Chen wanted to hear from her father what he had been told.

"The first thing we asked was 'have you received your last verdict?' He said 'no'. I actually asked twice - 'did you receive any news?' He said 'no.'"

Wo Weihan did not appear to think that he was about to be executed.

"He again repeatedly told me that he is innocent. He said very clearly that he has confidence in the justice system of China."

After 30 minutes, the visit was over.

"After meeting with my dad we went home, and I cried for two hours and it was just so difficult and emotional. Because I thought that maybe by the time I got home maybe he was already executed. I didn't know. That's really what makes it very difficult for us. We don't get information."

A few hours later, the family got a call from the Austrian Embassy (Austria has been liaising with the Chinese government because Ms Chen has Austrian citizenship). A diplomat passed on the message that China had agreed to let the family visit Wo Weihan once more. The family doesn't yet know when this next visit will take place. But Ran Chen believes that it means the possibility of her father's immediate execution has receded.

For its part, the Chinese government has stated its position clearly.

"Wo Weihan is a Chinese citizen who broke Chinese law," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said at a regularly scheduled briefing held in Beijing on Thursday afternoon, "We can't give privileges to him because he has foreign relatives."

Ran Chen argues that she does not want special privileges for her father. She says that she believes in the justice system in this country, but argues that his conviction for espionage is deeply flawed. She adds that she and her family intend to carry on fighting for her father's death sentence to be commuted.

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  • 1. At 2:34pm on 27 Nov 2008, zickyyy wrote:

    I DON'T believe her father is innocent but I DON'T think people committing espionage should be given death penalty.

    The details are not disclosed probably because of the nature of the crime. The details might be too sensitive and confidential.

    China's legal system is far from being fair and transparent. But saying "The legal system in this country operates amid great secrecy" is incorrect. My mum is a judge and I heard and saw a lot more than you did.

    I don't know how on earth you come up with the conclusion that "Most families involved in death penalty cases don't speak to the media". This once again shows your subjectivity.

    Are you saying they are not allowed to speak to the media? Only those with a foreign passport can?

    Please let me know how you come up with this. I hope it is not by your imagination.

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  • 2. At 2:39pm on 27 Nov 2008, Xlbfan wrote:

    Like a lot of things in China, the judicial system is a work in progress. The crucial problem lies in the fact that the law is not more powerful than the state.

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  • 3. At 2:49pm on 27 Nov 2008, zickyyy wrote:

    2 years ago in my city, a man hired a killer and murdered his once business parter's whole family including a 9 years old son

    Both the man and the killer were executed
    I am sure both the murders’ families were very sad but do you think they would want to speak to the media?

    Or any media would want to speak for them? BBC probably?

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  • 4. At 2:56pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    The post is a worst form of journalism.

    There is a bland chunk about what the father did. The post emphasize on the emotional feeling of a daughter who is likely biased.

    There is no investigation into the facts of the crime. Europeans with prejudice against China WILL easily fill in the gap with vile imaginations.

    The European media and Christian church have done a good job vilify China.

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  • 5. At 2:58pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    After Chi Mak was sentenced for 24 years accused of spying, Chinese Americans Chao Tah Wei and Guo Zhiyong are arrested in Los Angeles accused of selling cameras to China. The Chinese Americans face jail sentences for something the Irish can send to Ireland for free. I hope the lord have mercy to see the hostilities, inequalities, suppression and persecution faced by Chinese Americans.

    Where are the clowns from Amnasty International and Human Rights Watch?

    Free Chao Tah Wei! Free Chi Mak!

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  • 6. At 2:58pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 7. At 3:08pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 11. At 3:19pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 13. At 3:23pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 16. At 3:29pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 17. At 3:53pm on 27 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    Ms Chen, being an Austrian citizen, must be a pain for the Chinese authorities.

    The national immigration law states that people of Chinese descent who were born in Hong Kong and obtained British passport during the colonial era will still be treated as Chinese nationals and will not receive diplomatic protection in China.

    This policy is practically racist but I fully understand why its written like that when I seE how Ms Chen is still able to talk to BBC - it allows the government to lock more people (the supposed 'Chinese Nationals') up conveniently when they want to.

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  • 18. At 4:01pm on 27 Nov 2008, hizento wrote:

    Spies who threaten natioanl security should be excecuted. These traitors knows full well the price of being caught and must now face the consequences.
    Spies are no different than terrorists and their action can risk lives of many innocent civilians.

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  • 19. At 5:33pm on 27 Nov 2008, aeroarchie wrote:

    I've read many news stories of espionage cases in China where those convicted were only given a jail term. Ms Chen's father must have commited something very serious.

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  • 20. At 5:35pm on 27 Nov 2008, sinodeplant wrote:

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  • 21. At 5:41pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 26. At 6:04pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 27. At 6:21pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    There is a long way to go before Europe can catch up with the level of Speech Freedom in China.

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  • 28. At 6:23pm on 27 Nov 2008, whinejunkie wrote:

    To: Zickyyy

    Unlike Western countries, the Chinese judiciary is not independent from the government. The Chinese Constitution says that the courts report to the national assembly. That explains why the government wins almost 100% of of the time, and the proceedings of judging serious crimes usually only take a day or less.

    EXCEPT FOR THE NATIONAL SUPREME COURT, judges of the courts do not need to have stringent formal legal training, they only need to pass a test of basic legal knowledge. Many of these judges are only retired government officials or retired military officers. That explains why death sentences are required to be checked by the Supreme Court. Lawyers need to have a law degree and are more professional than the judges.

    It's impractical to quote a specific case to show whether the court judgment is fair or not, because judgements are erratic. What is allowed in China today may not be allowed tomorrow, and they do not have to change the law to do that.


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  • 29. At 6:26pm on 27 Nov 2008, RL wrote:

    I have sympathy for her losing her father.

    But I do not agree the comments that " human rights organizations charge that China executes more people than any other country in the world".

    To compare to 1.3 Billion population, the percentage of criminals executed in China are much lower than USA!!!

    Do the mathematic first then talk!

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  • 30. At 6:38pm on 27 Nov 2008, Wellingtontaro wrote:

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  • 31. At 6:44pm on 27 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

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  • 32. At 6:47pm on 27 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

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  • 33. At 6:55pm on 27 Nov 2008, chinesegeeza wrote:

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  • 34. At 7:02pm on 27 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:




    Rare insight?

    I just noticed that James used such a hilarious title for his utterly predictable post here.

    It would be very rare that James can write something showing the true picture of China.

    Indeed, like every country on the earth, China has many many problems which need to be improved, including the judicial system in this case. It's like some small black dots on a white paper. You wouldn't say it is perfectly white, but on the other hand you can't say it's black as well.

    What James did was using a microscope zooming in to those black dots and claimed that the whole paper is black. It is against the truth and it is disgraceful.



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  • 35. At 9:14pm on 27 Nov 2008, InTheMorningComeOn wrote:

    I see we have much anger rising here.. I find it hypocritical that so many members generalize and accuse "all" Europeans of being biased against the Chinese. It is also incorrect to assume we are all Christians. I happen to be European and have nothing against the chinese, and i am atheist and prefer to ignore the church's advice. Considering that i think the death penalty is never justifiable, as a DEMOCRACY is based on the ideal that every member of society deserves a second chance, they should go to prison, but what can really justify the taking of life for political reasons. True, spies MAY endanger people's lives (if they provided information that resulted in violent action),though this violent action is not too frequent, and hence doesn't justify the death penalty. Also, a drunk car driver also indirectly threatens life and they aren't given the death penalty, and they are conscious they shouldn't drive after drinking..

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  • 36. At 9:18pm on 27 Nov 2008, InTheMorningComeOn wrote:

    PS for the death penalty: how is killing a person that killed a lesson to stop killing?

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  • 37. At 9:23pm on 27 Nov 2008, InTheMorningComeOn wrote:

    this brutality against a states own people cannot be justified, no matter the type of government, democratic or communist. I am not against communism, but wouldn't it be more efficient to have each person with more free choice, doing the job they want and being paid proportionally to what they work? This would increase motivation and productivity.. Besides wouldn't it be logical to pay people who work harder more?

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  • 38. At 9:31pm on 27 Nov 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    1.people say they believe in the justice system in China, only because they have no other choice.
    2. The system is making progress, very slowly.
    3. Intervene espionage cases by foreign influence will only harm the progress toward rule of law in china.

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  • 39. At 11:02pm on 27 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    A spy got caught and BBC uses the case to reinforce the labling "secrecy" onto the Chinese legal system once more. What information/transparency do you expect to get from the case? If this happened in a western country then it would be reported like this "......classified information can not be released to media......"

    I am amazed out of 1.3 billion people BBC can only find out a couple of dissenters, family of a convicted spy, a rare species of band to report about. Does this kind of report reflect a fast changing nation with 1.3 billion poeple? The audience who rely on BBC to get their information about China would certainly think China is a horrible place with all the good, innocent people locked up in jail.

    A suggestion for James. Can you find an ordinary Chinese people to talk with? I am pretty sure the UK people want to know how Chinese people think of their life and their country. They are everywhere very easy to find.

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  • 40. At 02:22am on 28 Nov 2008, Neocortex wrote:

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  • 41. At 05:41am on 28 Nov 2008, MidnightJunkie wrote:

    Death penalty for espionage?

    Wait, I have an idea. How about Death penalty for government officials abusing their power? After all, if you can execute spies in China, why not execute corrupt politicians either? Or execute Triad members? Or execute those who put melamine in babies' milk?

    Says a lot about how fair your judicial system is, huh?

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  • 42. At 07:16am on 28 Nov 2008, I_love_China wrote:

    I don't know how on earth you jumped to the conclusion that ' most families involved in death penalty cases don't speak to media". have done any investigations or something?
    This shows your subjectivity again. i am really jearous of your imaginations.
    Come on, James, don't be too BBC.

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  • 43. At 07:23am on 28 Nov 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    To Post 17 by heyone:

    I just checked the Nationality Law of China and there is no such provision. If you are referring to a different law please specify the name and the clause.

    However having worked in HK for 5 years I have lots and lots of HK colleagues who have obtained foreign passports (UK, Canadian, Australian, Newzealand, etc) and nobody ever said that their foreign citizenship during the "colonial era" (which btw was 100 years) was denied by the Chinese government. They use their foreign passports to come in and out of China all the time.

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  • 44. At 10:50am on 28 Nov 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    sorry just wanted to clarify my previous post: I have colleagues who obtained fireign passports during the colonial era and whose foreign citizenship was never denied by the Chinese government.

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  • 45. At 10:58am on 28 Nov 2008, manpet wrote:

    I have never seen any country including UK and USA make the court case open to the public when it is against spy or espionage.

    What is the point James wants to make here? There is definitely defects within Chinese legal system, but James is again using the wrong example for the right thing, as he always did.

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  • 46. At 10:59am on 28 Nov 2008, hizento wrote:

    "China's secretive legal system"? Reading the news this morning on the BBC this sounds like the pot calling the kettel black.

    A Tory minister in the UK has been arrested by the police for spilling the beans about government policies to the public. Conservative MP Damian Green was arrested and questioned for 9 hrs. Meanwhile Downing Street, the Home Office and Labour government denies all knowledge and claim it is simply a police matter. Hmm!

    I very much doubt the poice would carry out an arrest on an elected MP, an opposition minister without the authority and instruction from the UK government. This smacks of the old style Soviet secretive era the UK is operating under.
    I am sure the UK public not least MP Damian Green would also want to know about the "rare secretive UK legal system" is thankyou very much.....

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  • 47. At 11:10am on 28 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    Midnight,

    You donot know China sentenced corrupted officials to death penalties? They do. Some corrupted officials got hunted down after they escaped to foreign cuntries or even had cosmetic surgeries. If you can read Chinese then find a Chinese web and stick to it for a while. You will find out how many big fish get thrown on the land by Chinese efficiency. China has a long history of beheading corrupted officials. Do not you worry about that. I am bit surprise that you did not join Amnasty International to condemn China's capital punishment.

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  • 48. At 11:55am on 28 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    #43 bluejeansbj

    Check hong kong immigration department website under 'topical issues'. Make sure you check the Chinese version as well.

    Apparently they would like to make this a double-standard. They'd treat you as foreigners when you try to enter the country (your foreign passport is your only travel document anyway) and they would treat you as a Chinese national when they want to lock you up for whatever reason.

    Smart of them, they can keep 'troubles' away by not granting you a visa while nobody can stop them from locking you up when you are in the country (if you happen to have the backgrounds as described in the constitution). They'll always win.

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  • 49. At 12:15pm on 28 Nov 2008, ashblond wrote:

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  • 50. At 12:20pm on 28 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    #43 bluejeansbj

    Here's what it says (copied straight from the website):

    "Under the CNL, Hong Kong residents and former residents who are of Chinese descent and born in the Mainland of China or Hong Kong are Chinese citizens. They will not be entitled to consular protection in the HKSAR notwithstanding that they hold foreign passports."

    Classifying foreign passport holders as "of Chinese descent" and "not of Chinese descent" is practically treating people of Chinese ethnicity and those of other ethnicities differently. This is racist.

    I'm not sure how this makes legal sense anyway since once you hold a, say, British passport, you are already defined as British Citizen regardless of where your father or grandfather is from. I don't know how the Chinese authorities think they have the jurisdiction over British people. Apparently they want to treat people who 'look' Chinese as Chinese citizens.

    The only reason I can think of is that they want to have the freedom of throwing whomever they think are 'Chinese' into jail conveniently.

    Too bad Ms Chen presumably has nothing to do with Hong Kong therefore this law doesn't really apply. They will need to think of some other tricks shall they see the need and 'justification' of locking her up.

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  • 51. At 1:30pm on 28 Nov 2008, taobo33 wrote:

    OK, here is how I look at this:

    Wu is charged as a spy and sell sensitive info. He also received money from abroad. (According to official info2).

    If this case has touched the very sensitive area like military info which is very important to national security I can see why there isn't more info to explain to his daughter as why he's been charged especially her nationality is not Chinese anymore. Maybe all the officials’ feels safe to tell is Wu sell's some info related to leader's health and some minor info.

    I am citizens who trust the authority on this kind of case especially the very top authority has been watching this case early on (EU and US politicians mentions Wu's case in various occasions during meetings with Chinese government officials). Prime Minister Wen Jiabao must know this case as well especially "A spokeswoman for the United States' embassy in Beijing condemned the execution.” today (Quoted from BBC).

    You can call me red fanatic but what I am trying to say is I as a Chinese citizen do believe government thou there might be dirt here and there. I believe our prime minister. If there is anything needed to change my view I'd say is the "hard proof"--which normally missing in case accuse towards China like this.

    --My 2cents

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  • 52. At 2:00pm on 28 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

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  • 53. At 2:00pm on 28 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    "I am innocent." This probably is the most common words that you could hear from in-mates in any prison in the world.

    Of cos, Chen and her father would say that. Everyone would do the same thing no matter what the truth is.

    Regrettably, the BBC's correspondent simply used this as an evidence to show that Chinese judicial system is flawed. Again, ignorant and arrogant post from our old-fashioned James.

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  • 54. At 2:00pm on 28 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    The reason for closed-door trial for this case is due to the nature of this sort of crime. No court in the world would allow media reporting such case in a detailed way. And again, James was using this a weapon to attack the Chinese judicial system.

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  • 55. At 2:01pm on 28 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:



    This post showed the desperate, the desperate of using every single possibility to tarnish China.

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  • 56. At 2:02pm on 28 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

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  • 57. At 3:07pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    Whinejunkie #28,

    I don’t know where you live. The American judiciary is not independent from the government. I get this through personal experience. It is all political plays in the US.

    It's impractical to quote a specific American case to show whether the court judgment is fair or not, because the US Supreme court judgments are erratic, repeatedly stepping on own feet. Besides, these persons are appointed by politicians in the first place. They are NOT elected. What is allowed in America today may not be allowed tomorrow, and they do not have to change the law to do that.

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  • 58. At 3:13pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    To #35 in theMorningComeOn,

    I find your view self-contradictory. If Europe is against death penalty, then you should not be in Iraq and Afghanistan. A war is like sentencing all civilians to death. The West is the executioner with carpet bombings.

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  • 59. At 3:15pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 60. At 3:20pm on 28 Nov 2008, endyjai wrote:

    timbatu

    You really have to chill out a bit. James' words are not final.

    Capital punishment is accepted by some and not by others. It's easy to tag a judicial system as flawed if one's moral standing is against this form of punishment. I have nothing against capital punishment but i do have problem against the lack of transparency. What could be of so much importance that we can not know the details?

    James, you're begging to sound like Amnesty. Does the BBC have China correspondents for areas other than those focussed on perceived 'flaws' compared to us in the UK?

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  • 61. At 3:25pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    To #50 heyone,

    I don’t know about Europe. But for America, once you become a citizen of the US, you automatically renounce your Chinese citizenship. You are no longer a Chinese citizen. At least, that is how it is with my case.

    I think you need to learn before you post. Your track of posts discredit yourself.

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  • 62. At 3:40pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    To # 60 Endy Jai,

    Give me a spy case in the West, US or UK, which is open to public.

    You don’t have transparency yourself? How can you ask other to do such?

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  • 63. At 4:47pm on 28 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    #61 timbatu

    I don't see the relevance of your case to the Hong Kong situation that I talked about previously.

    apparently if you were born in Hong Kong to ethnic Chinese parents the Chinese government would still want to treat you as Chinese citizen even if you hold a British passport i.e. British citizen. They also emphasise that you will not get consular protection.

    I have never seen any other government that tries so hard to include foreign nationals as its own citizens. It's such a strange idea to force citizenship onto foreigners.

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  • 64. At 4:53pm on 28 Nov 2008, Dougall wrote:

    A number of comments on here defending Chinese secrecy by claiming the UK and US also conduct spy trials in secret.

    What makes you think UK spy trials are conducted in secret? They are not.

    Here is a recent example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7669953.stm

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  • 65. At 5:19pm on 28 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    What some of us are practically saying: forget about all the dodgy processes of the blackbox trial and how intransparent the judical system is, let's play ostrich and believe everything the authority says must be right !

    Evidences of this man's evil deeds

    1) He's convicted by the government (yes, conviction is a form of evidence)

    2) He has an Austrian daughter (proof of being a traitor, look at what some Chinese people said about the Chinese-turned-Singaporean actress Gong Li)

    3) His Austrian daughter dares to talk to BBC and speak bad of the government. (quite obviously, anyone who talks bad of the government in front of foreign media e.g. BBC must be evil)

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  • 66. At 00:13am on 29 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 67. At 01:20am on 29 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 68. At 02:12am on 29 Nov 2008, shakyChinaman wrote:

    41. At 05:41am on 28 Nov 2008, MidnightJunkie wrote:

    Death penalty for espionage?

    Wait, I have an idea. How about Death penalty for government officials abusing their power? After all, if you can execute spies in China, why not execute corrupt politicians either? Or execute Triad members? Or execute those who put melamine in babies' milk?

    Says a lot about how fair your judicial system is, huh?

    --------------------------------------

    China routinely execute corrupt politicians. Which is why so many of them flee to democratic nations with huge sums of public money and seek asylum where they are treated as anti-communist heroes.

    Good job hippy parliaments!

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  • 69. At 03:40am on 29 Nov 2008, Lindafyj wrote:

    James, first I want to say I really like your articles, but I can't agree with you.
    From your words, I see that you have already believed that Mr. WO is innocent, maybe, but you must know that every criminal has claimed that he is innocent.
    Though I don't believe Mr. Wo is innocent, I have to admit the death penalty is 'flawed'. AS many countries in the world, China does have many problems in whatever fields. Noone can be perfect , right? We're trying to be more democratic, but we can't carry out democracy too fast, cause we are a country of 1.3 billion people.
    James, as a journalist, you should be more objective! To treat a spy, many countries would do as China did!

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  • 70. At 09:58am on 29 Nov 2008, soroswei wrote:

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  • 71. At 1:02pm on 29 Nov 2008, endyjai wrote:

    Timbatu

    I haven't the time to note any specific cases. Although I agree with you on the degree of Western hypocrisy when it comes to their view on China, there is no harm in criticising China's judicial system, as well as any other country's.

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  • 72. At 4:25pm on 29 Nov 2008, SkyDaisy-9 wrote:

    Here I found tense atmosphere, then felt a bit of fear on sharing my comment. I would like to keep calm and make it good chance to exchange different views.

    Personally, I felt the report was worthy to read through to know current legal policy of China, and felt sorry for her in depth.

    When I catch the news of conducted capital punishment in China by short TV articles I go blank simply because I know no politician who got death sentence as a punishment of his malversation in Japan.

    People of China are living under certain law, then they shouldn't be blamed as long as it applied fairly and correctly.
    However, I've heard that a law is the lowest or minimum criteria to rely on when it's difficult to settle down by argument among the party interested. It means that you have right of forgiving at anytime you want, I think, knowing the magunitude was different though.........
    If there were no room to consider the right? That might be considered.

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  • 73. At 4:31pm on 29 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 11:34pm on 29 Nov 2008, InTheMorningComeOn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 75. At 5:51pm on 30 Nov 2008, whinejunkie wrote:

    No. 43 bluejeansbj

    No. 17 heyone is both right and wrong.

    Chinese law does not allow dual citizenship. People born in China or Hong Kong (during British rule) are all considered Chinese citizens. But Hong Hongers can travel in China with foreign passports.

    It is only when something legal comes up that depends on one’s citizenship that the Chinese government will take a ruling on one’s citizenship. And the Chinese government will take an arbitrary ruling to suit its purpose. Here are 2 actual examples:

    A Chinese scientist born in China who has US citizenship has been given a resident status in China so he can help China develop its technology. So he does not have Chinese citizenship.

    A Tibetan activist born in China, became a Canadian citizen, and has officially renounced his Chinese citizenship, was picked up and imprisoned by the Chinese government.

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  • 76. At 6:01pm on 30 Nov 2008, whinejunkie wrote:

    To No. 45 manpet

    In the US and UK, the legal proceedings on events of the spy crime are always made open to the public, it is only the classified information itself that remains secret.

    And judgments are made based on the events that took place, not the classified information itself.

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  • 77. At 6:20pm on 30 Nov 2008, whinejunkie wrote:

    To No. 57 timbatu

    You say your personal experience of the American judiciary is that it is all political play. Were you convicted of a political crime? Are you writing from an American prison?

    US Supreme court judges are appointed only after they are approved by the popularly elected Senators. Judges are not elected because they should not be involved with party politics.

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  • 78. At 02:06am on 01 Dec 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    To post 50 by Heyone:

    You did not copy the following paragraph on the website, which says,

    "Those citizens holding foreign passports will have the option to declare change of nationality to the HKSAR Immigration Department. Valid documentation will need to be submitted. Upon approval, they will no longer be regarded as Chinese citizens and can enjoy consular protection from the country of their declared nationality."

    So what the law says is: 1. HK residents with Chinese descent and born in China/HK will be deemed Chinese citizen even if they hold foreign passports; 2. BUT they can denounce their Chinese citizenship and will then be treated a foreign citizenship. This provision is based on the principle that no dual citizenship will be recognized in China (including HK) and is completely harmless. It is also in line with the immigration law practice of many countries that do not accept dual citizenship.

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  • 79. At 03:09am on 01 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    James:
    This is a rare insight on before the end
    of Wo Weihan's life.

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  • 80. At 1:20pm on 01 Dec 2008, heyone wrote:

    bluejeansbj #78

    Well, if the sole purpose of this law is to prevent dual citizenship, I can't understand why it only applies to people of "Chinese descent".

    1) If you happened to be born in Hong Kong to, say, American parents, Chinese citizenship would be pushed on you even if your family decided to move to the US from China 5 generations ago and have no meaningful family ties to China right now.

    2) However, if your family were American and of European descent, you wouldn't be given Chinese citizenship even if you happened to be born in Hong Kong.

    If the purpose is to prevent dual-citizenship, why wouldn't the Chinese government push a Chinese citizenship to 2) as well ? What is stopping them from doing this to 2) ?

    What is "Chinese descent" anyway? Think about how they can practically tell whether you're of Chinese descent. I'd imagine that'd be a pretty racist process.

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  • 81. At 4:12pm on 01 Dec 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 4:48pm on 01 Dec 2008, Cantab wrote:

    All 81 posts boil down to 1 in-alienable fact:

    1/ All systems are biased
    2/ Some systems are partially controlled by governments, but civilians have a tangiable part in influencing the decision
    3/ Some systems are almost completely controlled by the government

    4/ Neither is better, and it really depends on the people, which afterall form the government.

    All in all, do you trust the few or the many? Do you think power corrupts over time or is that comparably better than mindless democracy for the sake of it? Who knows? who know?

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  • 83. At 10:25pm on 01 Dec 2008, Nicky9L wrote:

    Quote 41:

    "How about Death penalty for government officials abusing their power? After all, if you can execute spies in China, why not execute corrupt politicians either? Or execute Triad members? Or execute those who put melamine in babies' milk? "

    You know very little about China. Yes, corrupted politicians do get executed too, depending on how serious the crime is; By "Triad members", I assume you mean organised gangsters, yes they can get executed too, and FYI, Triad is a hongkong thing, which is out of the jurisdiction of the Mainland of China; those who put melamine in babies milk? they will serve a very long time, but not death penalty because the Law says so.

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  • 84. At 11:02pm on 01 Dec 2008, Nicky9L wrote:

    To heyone's comments at 50 and 63:

    You have COMPLETELY got the wrong idea!!! why did you just quote one paragraph of it? Here is the whole statement, take a read please!

    "Under the CNL, Hong Kong residents and former residents who are of Chinese descent and born in the Mainland of China or Hong Kong are Chinese citizens. They will not be entitled to consular protection in the HKSAR notwithstanding that they hold foreign passports.

    Those citizens holding foreign passports will have the option to declare change of nationality to the HKSAR Immigration Department. Valid documentation will need to be submitted. Upon approval, they will no longer be regarded as Chinese citizens and can enjoy consular protection from the country of their declared nationality."

    Let me tell you something about this Law: Many people immigrated before the 1997 handover due to lack of confidence for Hong kong's future, but they still want to visit Hong kong and the Mainland frequently, so the government does not want them to feel repelled by the motherland just because they obtained foreign passports long time ago, so the first paragraph says:"From the government point of view, we regard you as Chinese citizens if you want to be as long as you give away consular protection", which is perfectly normal, otherwise where is the equality? This way, they can keep their foreign nationality but also being a "Chinese citizen" whilst they are in Hong Kong. That's why they don't need a visa to enter China. If they commit a crime, they are in the jurisdiction of China.

    While the second graph says:" if you don't want to be Chinese citizen you can renounce the citizenship then you can enjoy consular protection". For instance, if a Hong Kong born Chinese who holds a British passport declared change of nationality, he/she is not regarded as Chinese citizen and enjoys consular protection

    China doesn't recognise dual citizenship, this is a smart way to get around that for the convenience of this group of people. Understand?

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  • 85. At 11:53pm on 01 Dec 2008, Nicky9L wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 86. At 03:09am on 02 Dec 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    to Post 80 by heyone:

    Nationality laws worldwide basically follow one of the two principles: 1, the place of birth principle, and 2, the "descent" ie the citizenship of the parent principle. Some countries follow a combination of both.

    The US follows the first principle, so all babies born in the US will have US citizenship by default. They of course, can choose to waive their US citizenship. Using your logic one can argue that the US government "pushes" US citizenship on to babies of foreigners (including Chinese parents) born inside US.

    HK (along with many other places in the world) however follow a combination of both, so babies (i) of Chinese descent and (ii) born inside HK will have HK citizenship. Again, they can choose the citizenship of another country, provided that they denounce their HK citizenship.

    Other than these two basic principles, most countries (including US, HK, mainland China) also allow foreigners to apply for citizenship after they have reached a certain length of residence.

    As long as the law gives the people the option to choose their citizenship, I don't see anything "rascist" or descriminative.

    This will be my last response on this topic.

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  • 87. At 1:35pm on 02 Dec 2008, heyone wrote:

    #84 Nicky9L

    Understood. But I reckon this law would make sense if it applies to people who are born to PARENTS who are Chinese citizens, rather than just people of "Chinese descent". Right now to me this law looks racist.

    #86 bluejeansbj

    point 2) from your response: 'the "descent" ie the citizenship of the parent principle.'

    I wouldn't think "persons of Chinese descent" only include people who are born to parents who hold Chinese citizenship. It would include people who have any of their ancestors being Chinese citizen(s).

    This law would sound much fairer to me if it says people who are "born to Chinese Nationals", rather than "of Chinese Descent", will be given Chinese citizenship.

    Just that treating people of different "descents" differently sounds very racist to me.

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  • 88. At 00:47am on 03 Dec 2008, walt_luo wrote:

    I am so sorry that a father and hunsband was excuted for espionage.
    I feel even much sadder that the soul of him can not rest in peace, instead, continue to be bothered by so-called 'human-right-lovers' while assassination are secretely executed by them..
    What an irony..

    Have you seen the movie--'Munich'?
    In this movie the director obviously glorifies the revenge on those murders of 11 Iseraeli athlete, and boycotts Beijing Olympic for Darfur abet by American politicians.
    (Of course I do not approve the war in Darfur. I stand against any war in any form.)

    Every one loves his or her own country, but one can never force other people form another culture to accept what one think is right.
    I am wondering why we can not stop nagging at each other and live together in peace? Why? Why? Why???

    Don not be a fool and puppet of the media and
    the government, think out of the box and be open-minded. Accept the differences and seek things in common.

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  • 89. At 03:24am on 03 Dec 2008, raja99 wrote:

    The one point from the daughter's side which I know to be very true of Chinese and drives me mad is.....

    The fact that Chinese do not share . They will not share anything and on any level .

    I've been living in amongst Chinese for more than 12 years. So I speak from expereince.

    If it is a legal situation NO information is shared or at the most only what you need to know.....which is normally nothing from their side.

    So why is she so surprised/ frustrated about the authorities not giving any information. Surely being brought up in a Chinese family she should know.

    Do not show emotion , do not be welcoming and if you do then only to your closest family. And this is how to act within "normal" society. The whole history of China is secrecy , power , gaining power , killing, this dynasty taking that dynasty.

    So how could she ever expect a communist body that is Chinese to be open/clear and sharing .......how....??

    Whether her father was or wasn't what they say he was is kind of irrelevant I'm sorry to write.

    They saw him as a threat and so any threat is dealt with .


    Re the style and content of the article....I liked it. I also like the fact there is a non biased guy out there doing his thing, reporting and giving us his insight / view of the big picture and also the details of China. Good on ya James Reynolds !!

    You're doing a great job and enjoy reading your articles !

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  • 90. At 09:44am on 03 Dec 2008, Noliving wrote:

    #88 walt_luo: I completely disagree that the movie munich glorifies the revenge, I don't see how Israelis who at first think they are doing the right thing then slowly one by one are picked off, betrayed, and start questioning whether or not that the acts they are doing is jewish and then realizing their efforts are doing nothing but having someone else just take the place of the people they killed and then after that becoming so paranoid they don't trust anyone including their own gov. then with the head of the group making a personal violent threat against their own gov. along with not cooperating with them when it comes to debriefing. I don't see any type of glory in that.

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  • 91. At 09:48am on 03 Dec 2008, Noliving wrote:

    #5 that is false that the irish can send those cameras freely to ireland. Those cameras are worth nearly $5,000 a piece and require export licenses/permits by everyone including americans who wish to take that technology abroad. Those who are charged did not have export licenses and not only that but the buyer of those cameras repeatidly lied to the store that they were for domestic use only.

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  • 92. At 10:27am on 03 Dec 2008, waltluo wrote:

    Thank you friend #90 Noliving.

    I would like to see the movie again and see if I miss some part of it which leads me misunderstand the motif of it.



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  • 93. At 12:03pm on 03 Dec 2008, freeqind wrote:

    Those who are supporting the sentence would be paid back by the immoral regime because your curse comes from your opinion without honest and careful consideration. Whether or not Wo committed treason depends on the exposure of his case. After so called 'spy action', nothing secret is left, but why the corrupt government still keeps it out of the limelight? If you don't know the detail how can you make decision?
    On the other hand, if Taiwan is part of China, where the treason comes?

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  • 94. At 3:32pm on 03 Dec 2008, MidnightJunkie wrote:

    Ok so the Chinese gov't routinely executes corrupt officials. Any Politburo members executed for corruption? Or how about Senior officials in the Capital? Don't tell me that your officials start getting nationalistic and stop being greedy when they get to high office.

    At the risk of being stubborn, I'd like to know if your laws don't recognize position, or if it only convicts lower officials far from Beijing.

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  • 95. At 5:09pm on 03 Dec 2008, Christopher wrote:

    China may be a country not favored by the West. Human rights violations are rampant in the so called democracies of the West, but they go unchallenged. Americas are built on violating human rights of the respective native aboriginal people - so is Australia and is happening today in all shapes and forms. China on the other hand is an ancient civilization that has its unique culture and administrative process where its population accepts; while the West has developed its own system -- democratic way. This does not mean the west should impose a so called "new world order" to change the world opinion. When you are in a certain country, its laws apply as it should be the case. Why USA has refused to sign Geneva Convention on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity delivers an answer to the question of human rights violations perpetrated world over.

    Norms do differ! But by sensationalizing a topic to gain sympathy or to granting special privileges under certain circumstances will not deter criminals from committing offenses. Should Austrian “citizenship” be a free pass to walkover a sovereign nation’s rules of law?

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  • 96. At 07:34am on 06 Dec 2008, Lee Roy Sanders, Jr. wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 97. At 06:24am on 18 Dec 2008, byhyew wrote:

    to #93 and #94
    The details of spy cases are never open to the public, in any country.
    There are so many Chinese officials executed for corrpution, including high-ranking officials in Beijing, even our former president, you just need to read Chinese to get access to the information as our petty western media don't consider that a hot topic because it would make China look "less evil" and the news would not sell well. Interesting, China ranks far behind USA in a UN published list of "Most Corrupted Countries" though I'd personally doubt it on the political level but don't take China as having the most corrupted government, it's not even close. Check Indonesia, Thailand, or some African countries, please.
    By the way, if we don't like Jame's artical, why make so many comments? Maybe we can try ignoring it. Our critism only bring his article more "hits" and make it hotter.

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  • 98. At 6:33pm on 21 Dec 2008, zsyd1230 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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