Came across this:www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/11/kremlin-assassin-anna-chapman-traitor
Ye gods. Whatever happened to the Russian sense of now? And it's not even the 'Great Game' any more. Mind you, look at America, still stuck in the 'Children's Crusade'; while the Brits try very hard to re-enact the very worst of Good Ol' Charlie Dickens.
I suppose it 'twas ever thus, but the current levels of tasteless stupidity offend me in such great polities. And China is another matter entirely. Though I must admit I wouldn't care to be a dissident in the PRC, I do wonder if they haven't got it mainly right: given their billion-and-then-some population, and the sheer scale and numbers involved in the governance of such a vast nation. Dictatorship by committee of involved experts may actually be a more efficient in use of resources. They can certainly turn on or off at whim any of the multinationals who deal with them: those same multinationals that have the rest of the world's nation-states private ear, given the way they fund political parties. I say 'private ear' because I prefer using euphemisms: the reality is the multinationals can always up sticks and threaten to move to another country unless nations bend over backwards to accommodate them with tax-breaks, favourable trading conditions, etc & etc.
They can't quite do that with China, and I bet some other governments worldwide secretly love the fact that the multinationals have to kow-tow to China rather than China kow-towing to them.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't care to live in a place where speaking out gets house arrest if you're important, and who-knows-what fate if no-one's ever heard of you. But also I'd love to have known what would have happened if the BP and Halliburton executives faced Chinese justice over the Deepwater Oil Spill. I have my suspicions that most
would still have walked free: but as seriously chastened folk, fully aware of what fate could have befallen them.