Thursday, August 06, 2009

Celebrity Drug Case Renewed Discussion on Law and Ethics

Wenjun Man is a farmer turned singer, a celebrity with fame and a large fan base in Beijing. Man along with his wife Li Li were arrested for holding a drug part at his house. Man was detained for 15 days for taking ecstasy himself, while his wife was sentenced one year jail time for supplying ketamine to Man and his friends.

Li Li denied drug charges in the court, but was only rebut by a testimony of Man, her own husband.

Legal experts questioned whether Man had to testify against his wife. Throughout history of China, by law a person does not have to provide damaging information on his family members. For example, legal archives dated 2000 years ago (in Han Dynasty) says a son does not have to turn in his father under any circumstances; while a father does not have to turn in his son, except his son committed high crime such as murder. The principle has been adopted in every law passed in Chinese history, including as close as the criminal code of the Republic of China (now exile in Taiwan after loosing the mainland in civil war in 1949) published in 1937. However, after the communists taking over the power, such exemptions were crossed out of the law. One has to turn in his family member on anything suspicious. During the Great Cultural Revolution, wives are forced to turn in their husbands, students are encouraged to torture their teachers. The family architecture is totally crushed so that people are only loyal to one body, the Party.

The consequence is however, people no longer trust anyone but themselves. In a long run, this may not be good even to the Party because already people are questioning their loyalty to the Party.

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