When I was a young man I was very up to speed on foreign affairs in a way that I simply don’t have time for today. I tend to focus on things I can change and influence. If this means the issues I deal with have to be small then so be it. I can look after my family, keep my home looking nice so I don’t let down the neighbourhood, be kind to my neighbours, be part of a great team at the council, run my business and play a role in my rowing club.
The execution of Akmal Shaikh has quite shaken me. I have always known that the Chinese regime is harsh and essentially unconcerned of what others think of it but to see them secretively murdering a man who was probably mentally ill has quite sickened me.
I have written to the Chinese ambassador as follows:
Madam Fu Ying
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL
30th December 2009
Dear Madam Ambassador,
I am writing to you to tell you how disgusted I am that your country has executed Mr Akmal Shaikh, a British citizen.
The death penalty is controversial in our country and many people would want to see it brought back in a small number of cases. On the other hand I am certain that most British people would think that the rate of judicial murder in your country was unacceptable.
The judicial murder of Mr Shaikh without any consideration for his evident mental incapacity is a human rights breach that China will regret.
Like many British people I have up until now turned a blind eye to the failings of your country. Mr Shaikhâ€™s judicial murder has shaken me out of my complacency and you can count me as an active adversary of your countryâ€™s murderous regime from now on.
I am sure that Madam Fu Ying will be unmoved but I for one will be more vigilent about China and concerned to see my country stand up to it, even if that costs.
I grabbed this picture of the Chinese embassy from Google Street View. The do no harmers don’t let you get close even on Street View. 49-51 Portland Place is only just up from Oxford Circus – next time you are up town maybe walk past and scowl, or spit, or shout “Murderers!”. Maybe if you met a Chinese citizen tell them you think it stinks. It all counts.