Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham does not want to link the Chinese Communist Partys (CCP) death sentence of an Australian man—handed down 7 years after he was imprisoned—to current bilateral tensions, despite the similarities to a previous case involving a Canadian man.
Australian man Karm Gilespie has been imprisoned in China since 2013 for smuggling drugs but was only sentenced to death by Guangzhou Intermediate Peoples Court on June 10.
The timing of the death sentence has raised questions about whether it is connected to current trade tensions between Australia and China, which followed the federal governments push for an inquiry into the origins of the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Birmingham has attempted to play down these claims.
Asked in an interview with Sky News Kieron Gilbert whether he thought there was a link to bilateral tensions, Birmingham said: “We shouldnt necessarily view it as such.”
The trade minister said Australia condemns the death penalty in all circumstances across all countries.
Gilbert pointed out to Birmingham that the CCP held a retrial and sentenced a Canadian to death during tensions with China last year. “There are some similarities here,” he noted.
Birmingham replied: “We should also note that China makes extensive use of the death penalty. Thats not something that Australia condones, but its a simple statement of fact.”
Last year Canadian Robert Schellenberg was convicted of methamphetamine smuggling. After four years of serving a 15-year prison sentence, he was sentenced to death after a hasty retrial.
Contradicting Views on Retaliation Claims
Since the trade dispute between China and Australia began in April, ministers and members of Parliament have preferred to address issues that arise on its merits and avoid engaging in “tit for tat” politics.
Ministers have also avoided saying the Chinese regime is retaliating against Australias actions deemed detrimental to Beijings interests including calls for an inquiry into the origins of the CCP virus, and the recently announced foreign investment laws.
However, the Chinese state-owned media group Global Times, a vocal commentator on regime-related issues, has been outspoken in saying Beijings actions are in fact retaliatory in nature.
On June 9, the Global Times editorial board wrote: “From its push for a U.S.-led inquiry into COVID-19, to its interference in the Hong Kong affair, and the upcoming overhaul of its foreign investment rules that are expected to tighten scrutiny over foreign investment, Australian politicians are demonstrating their antipathy toward China.”
“If Australia wants to retain the gain from its economic ties with China, it must make a real change to its current stance on China, or it will completely lose the benefits of Chinese consumers,” the Global Times wrote. “The tourism loss may be just a tip of iceberg in its loss of Chinese interest.”
Chinas Judicial System Should be Severely Criticised: Former Chinese Judge
Birmingham has said that the Australian government will argue against the death penalty for 56-year-old Gilespie, but admitted the CCPs legal system is a challenge, saying: “Its not our legal system, its not our justice system.”
While Birmingham is hesitant to speak against the CCPs judicial system, a former Chinese Supreme Court judge has said that it should be “severely criticised.”
Xie Weidong was a Supreme Court judge in China for 10 years before stepping down in 2000. He spoke to The Epoch Times in 2019 and revealed the extent of corruption in the regimes legal system—including at times being told what ruling he should hand down before the trial.
Now a resident of Toronto, Xie was sponsored by his Canadian wife to become a permanent resident and was being pursued by the same justice system he once worked for.
“I have a thorough understanding of the Chinese Communist Partys judicial system, and this system has very serious problems. I hope that tRead More – Source