Grunts for the Arts


That Geography Teacher
June 2, 2008, 2:55 pm
Filed under: The Olympics!

You remember that grumpy sod who used to teach you geography? The one who had never recovered from the day that capital punishment was banned in school?
And you remember how ridiculously he would overreact to bad news, wrongdoing or comments against his good name?
Well, take his crotchety ill-temper, magnify it manifold and transform him by the wonder of your imagination into a nation state.

You’ve now got something like the political climate within China.

Fiddling tax returns, writing subversive slogans on walls, and stealing bikes are all punishable by death in China.

And you remember how this miserable teacher would be absolutely incapable of admitting that he was wrong; taking his arrogance and self-belief to such levels of absurdity that it would have been funny if tragedy and fear hadn’t dominated his classes so much?

Well guess what? China does this too.

In the late 1980s a man by the name of Teng Xinshan was found guilty of murdering his wife two years previously. He confessed to the crime, but afterwards insisted that this was only because he had been severely beaten during interrogation.

Nevertheless, he was executed in 1989.

Jump forward 16 years to June 2005 and something rather unexpected took place.

Teng’s wife reappeared on the scene. Alive and unharmed.

There had never been a murder.

China won its bid to host the Olympics in part because it promised to improve on its human rights’ record.
Very little has been done in the seven years since.

Visit Amnesty’s website to support their work towards ensuring China lives up to its word.

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