Legal procedure follows its own principles

By Mo Nong (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-25 07:21
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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's release on bail conforms strictly with China's legal procedure - just as his detention did. The reason for his release on bail cannot be clearer - good attitude in confessing to his crimes, the chronic disease he suffers from and expressing his willingness to repay the taxes he evaded, as the police explained.

Yet, Western media made the same fuss on his release as they did on his detention more than two months ago.

Their simple assumption is that Ai was released because the Chinese government had given in to the pressure exerted by some political forces in the West. Some media went as far as to say that the West should apply even more pressure on the Chinese government on human rights.

Some others interpreted Ai's release as a move by the Chinese government to create favorable conditions for Premier Wen Jiabao's trip to Europe.

It is not unusual for the Western media and some China watchers to always politicize or put an ideological face on any issue they think they can blow up.

The traditional Chinese saying "to guess what is on the mind of a gentleman with the dirty mind of a mean person" illustrates how they distort issues.

To be exact, they are making guesses with a Cold War mentality. They consider China an enemy when it comes to ideology and try to exploit every possible opportunity to defame the Chinese government.

The thrust of the matter is simple: Ai is involved in a criminal case. He was detained because he was suspected of having evaded a large amount of taxes. He confessed to the crimes he had committed.

Is it reasonable and justifiable to not arrest a person who has been suspected of being involved in economic crimes simply because he is a political critic of the government and his detention will quite possibly be interpreted by the West as political persecution?

This is a question not for China's judicial authorities but for Westerners who always want to demonize the Chinese government. Definitely not. The Beijing police detained Ai based on their investigation. The release was based on legal procedure, not pressure from the West. It is a decision that the related judicial department has made and has nothing to do with politics.

It is shallow of the Western media or China watchers to assume either that Ai would be severely punished for his political stand or would be shown leniency because of political pressure from the West. It is ridiculous to believe that the pressure West has exerted will affect China's legal procedure when it comes to the conviction of a particular person.

Ai's release shows that the human rights principle prevails in the judicial practice in China as the chronic disease he has long suffered was taken into consideration when the decision was made to release him on bail.

With further strengthening of the rule of law, China's judicial system will be even more independent. It does not give in to any form of influence or pressure from any other country.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

(China Daily 06/25/2011 page5)