Whilst different courts and different judges in one country can hand down sentences for crimes that seem to lack consistency (see last blog post), that's nothing compared to the inconsistencies between countries.
I was horrified to read in today's papers that China had executed one of its citizens for “talking about the health of senior leaders” - according to one AFP report, that's a crime in China that is punishable by death.
Wo Wiehan, a 59 year old medical scientist, was put to death on Friday morning for “leaking state secrets” to Taiwan.
His trial was held in secret and the evidence against him never made public.
The US and EU have rightly condemned the execution.
China's abuse of human rights has attracted so much international criticism in recent years that last year the Chinese government announced that in the future the death penalty would be confined to cases where the crime was “extremely serious” or “a heinous crime that leads to grave social consequences”.
It appears that China was only paying lip service to improving its human rights record.