There’s a bit of a problem… Australia has no death penalty, and one hopes we don’t do ‘forced confessions’. Australia wants a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council and a campaign against the death penalty is part and parcel of that.
In short… we can’t be handing back Chinese fugitives – especially where they are on political or economic charges – if the possibility exists that they may be executed.
“China established a new agency, the Department of Overseas Fugitive Affairs, last month as an extension to its "Fox Hunt" and "Sky Net" operations targeting suspected economic criminals and corrupt officials hiding overseas. Chinese authorities routinely cite Australia, along with the US and Canada, as the most popular havens for its fugitives …. The unratified treaty signed between Australia and China provides grounds for refusal for political offences and if there are fears of torture or inhumane punishment. In cases where the person sought may be sentenced to death, Australia can undertake that the death penalty not be imposed – or if imposed, that it not be carried out. ”
“Chinese officials have couched the extradition treaty as a natural progression on bilateral police co-operation and an international anti-corruption accord agreed at the 2014 APEC Summit in Beijing. Australian law enforcement agencies are also keen for China's help in stemming the flow of illicit drugs – particularly crystal methamphetamine – from southern China.”
‘We give you back your economic criminals on proviso you don’t kill them - and you help us deal with your serious drug offenders’… is what this sounds like.
But what's to stop Chinese authorities from 'finding' a new charge once they are handed back?
If the meth problem in Australia worsens - or is perceived to do so, and all it would take is a meth-addled idiot in a traffic accident to do that - I have limited faith that the pressure won't lead to our authorities accepting shaky assurances, particularly if it is to smooth over yet other issues.