The Washington Post reports on the Chinese official who received the death penalty for corruption.
Liu Zhihua, 59, oversaw construction, real estate, sports and traffic projects for the Beijing Olympic Games until he was fired in June 2006 on suspicion of corruption. His high-profile antics and "decadent lifestyle" had attracted unwanted attention among the country's top leaders, according to Chinese news media reports.
Mr. Zhihua's sentence came with a 2-year reprieve, a type of probation period, after which the sentence can be commuted to life in prison based upon good behaviour.
Naturally to me this seems extreme, to say the least. I don't feel white collar criminals should go to jail at all, let alone receive a harsh sentence like this. But, it does make me wonder about deterrence. Would such severe sanctions deter others from attempting these types of crimes? Those proverbial stories, I don't know if they're true or not, in certain countries where they cut the thief's hand off, does that deter other young thieves?
Of course, in order to work these stricter punishments would have to be fairly and universally applied, which in China, apparently they're not.
"Those officials only care about how to grab money. Some corrupt officials are caught, but there are more who are not caught," said Yuan Jianli, 52, a car repairman. "If you stand with the right team, even if you're corrupt, you'll probably be fine. If you're on the wrong team, you'll be caught. Politics in China is too dark, and we ordinary people can do nothing about it."
What's your opinion? Is it different in China than in Western countries? Does it work better?