China is a police state, surely everyone knows that. Leaving aside the fact that over the past thirty and more years its Government has raised the standard of living of most of its population massively. Hordes of Westerners are now living and working in China, doing everything from teaching English to industrial management. But, and this is a big but, a fattened slave is still a slave. China censors the Internet, and people who fall foul of the law for any trivial reason soon wish they hadn’t. How bad is China?
Warner has just effected a private prosecution of Derbyshire police officer Mark Knights (pictured) for common assault. A trial date has been set for December 3. Whatever the outcome of this trial, people who know about these things, and those who have been on the business end of policing, know how incredibly difficult it for anyone who has been trashed by the police to get any kind of justice. That applies in Britain, and at times even more in the United States where innocent citizens are regularly beaten or even shot by thugs in uniform. Thankfully, the latter seldom happens in the UK.
In one sense, the situation in China is more equitable. Corrupt Chinese police officers face Draconian penalties for their corruption; in the West, they usually receive a slap on the wrist, while the incompetent fail upwards. In 2005, Cressida Dick as a commander in the Metropolitan Police was one of the officers responsible for a terrible tragedy: shooting dead an innocent man who had wrongly been identified as a terrorist. Granted, the circumstances of this case were unique, but today Miss Dick is the Police Commissioner. It is difficult to imagine a Chinese police officer being promoted so after such a disaster.
Perhaps most controversial of all is the Chinese system of near total surveillance. In its great cities, cameras are everywhere. We hear a lot about this from people who warn us about the rise of China, but what these same people conveniently forget is that the same near total surveillance can now be found in all major Western cities, and many not so major ones.
In the United States especially, motorists and other travellers are regular victims of corrupt police officers who seize at times large quantities of money under civil asset forfeiture laws on the pretext of…make up an excuse.
Anyone carrying a large amount of cash on his person can face awkward questions from not only the police but from many agents of state repression, and don’t even think of trying to buy an expensive car with cash, much less a house, it just isn’t done.
Finally, if you want to appreciate the full extent of state surveillance in the West, starting with the very young, check out the work of Pippa King. It’s one thing to have ultra tight security at an airport or a major public venue, but do you really want to see your kids fingerprinted when they take books out of the school library?
Ah yes, China is indeed a police state, but as the man said, before you remove the mote from Xi Jinping’s eye, remove the beam from your own.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.