Vladimir Putin's arrest warrant for US Senator Lindsey Graham provides a chilling vision of a world dominated by tyrants – Scotsman comment

If you’ve tweeted about Xi Jinping looking like Winnie the Pooh, going to China might be a mistake

The arrest warrant issued by Vladimir Putin’s government for US Senator Lindsey Graham because he said something they didn’t like provides a glimpse of what life would be like in a globalised world dominated by tyrants. Dissidents and satirists alike might find themselves in trouble as the long arm of arbitrary ‘law’ grows longer.

Graham’s alleged ‘crime’ was to describe US military assistance to Ukraine as “the best money we’ve ever spent”, while separately noting “Russians are dying”. In January, a Chinese student who tweeted “insulting” images about President Xi Jinping – actually a Winnie the Pooh cartoon (Xi looks a bit like Pooh) – while in America was jailed for six months on his return. In Vietnam, noodle vendor Bui Tuan Lam, who parodied London restaurateur Salt Bae after a Vietnamese minister caused controversy by eating at the rather expensive restaurant, was given a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s good to poke fun at tyrannical regimes’ petty sensitivities, confident they can’t get us. However, given existing concerns about authoritarian regimes’ abuse of Interpol’s international arrest warrants, you might not want to laugh too loudly.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.