WORLD / OTHER REGIONS
Australia disregards rule of law in Gilespie’s verdict
Published: Jun 14, 2020 10:08 PM

File Photo: Xinhua

A court in South China's Guangdong Province handed the death penalty to Australian Karm Gilespie for drug smuggling on Wednesday. As the verdict came amid rising China-Australia tensions, some Australian and Western media outlets were quick to link Gilespie's case with the ongoing political spat between Beijing and Canberra. Australia, among other Western countries, always touts itself as country under the rule of law, yet when China tries to uphold the rule of law, Australia wants to politicize China's court ruling.

Australia condemns the death penalty and would continue to provide consular assistance and make representations on behalf of Gilespie, Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said Sunday in a television interview with Sky News. This leads to worries that bilateral relations may further deteriorate. 

Australia has abolished capital punishment, but it makes no sense if Australia keeps using its own legal standards to criticize China's ruling. Chinese society as a whole has zero tolerance for drug trafficking.

Some Australian media outlets quoted positive comments about Gilespie from his acquaintances, describing this verdict as unfair and inhumane. They deliberately ignored the fact that the man they are defending is a drug trafficker who was arrested at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou with 7.5 kilograms of methamphetamine in his check-in luggage.

Drug smuggling is a felony that should be dealt with harshly. Many Asian countries, including Singapore, Indonesia and China mandate the death penalty for drug crimes. The verdict for Gilespie is a just, fair ruling in strict accordance with its laws. Since the beginning of the 21st century, a few foreign drug smugglers have been sentenced to death in China, including those from Japan, Britain and Canada. 

By sentencing Gilespie to death, China has shown its zero tolerance to drug offenses. The death sentence is also meant to be a deterrence to other potential drug criminals. China is determined to crack down on drug trafficking in strict accordance with law, which should be respected and not intervened by Australia.  

Australia's mentality toward China has become increasingly irrational. It has chosen to act as a pawn of the US in confronting China, but it doesn't want to face the consequences. Canberra has repeatedly harmed China's interests unilaterally, however, as China took action to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, Australia has played the victim, calling China's counteractions "bullying" or "coercion."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, disregarding the spike in racial discrimination and racial attack against Chinese people in Australia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, blasted China's pre-warning issued to Chinese students as "coercion." If Australia refuses to face up to the issue and correct its policy, it will completely lose its appeal to Chinese students.

It's time for Australia to face up to reality and be able to tell right from wrong. 
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