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Condemnation of China looks like hypocrisy

The condemnation of the Chinese government by British prime minister Gordon Brown over the execution of British national Akmal Shaikh sparked a row between London and Beijing.

Claims by Mr Brown that China had failed in its human rights responsibilities are somewhat hypocritical. Akmal Shaikh was found guilty in a court of being in breach of China's policy on drug-smuggling and sentenced accordingly.

No doubt Mr Brown will hope that Chinese officials will not have read the confidential files released from the Public Records Office in Belfast under the 30 years' rule, proposing to allow British security forces shoot IRA detainees caught attempting to escape.

This proposal amounted to the summary execution of prisoners. These prisoners were tried in non-jury single judge Diplock Courts which were condemned by Amnesty International, British-Irish Rights Watch and many human rights groups worldwide.

Further evidence of human rights abuses by the British Government emerged from the John Stalker inquiry. Then, retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory found evidence of state collusion in the murders of solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. Cory recommended the "immediate establishment" of public inquiries.


Cathaoirleach, Irish National Congress, Dublin

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