Akmal Shaikh, a British bi-polar sufferer who was homeless in Poland, was lured to China with dreams of becoming an international popstar - and incidently carried 4kg of heroin into China on the way to his dream.
Despite the most strident appeals from the British government, he was executed yesterday by the Chinese. The basis of the British objection was that he was:
a) he suffers from bi-polar disorder and that it is against UN convention to execute the mentally ill - in addition, during the two years of his incarceration, no attempt was made to give him medical help nor was a mental health assessment carried out.
b) the original trial, which handed down the death sentence, went for 30 minutes - casting strong doubt on the ability of the Chinese prosecutors to give sufficient evidence, nor Shaikh to have sufficient defence.
Now, most readers of British newspapers have very little sympathy with the chap - saying that 4kg of herion rips through about 28,000 families (not sure how they came across this statistic), ruining lives, and they think he is the scum of the earth and he should be put to death.
On the other side, is this going to hurt China's standing in the world? Or will the world forget about it 2 days? Does the UK-Chinese relationship matter than much to the Chinese anyway?
Also, following the story over the past few days, I realise that Rupert's papers - news.com.au and London's Times Online cared very little for the story on humanitarian grounds, and are now only getting onto it as a diplomatic incident.