Skip to comments.China introduces execution vans
Posted on 03/12/2003 4:52:15 PM PST by Gangchen_gonpo
By Catherine Armitage, China correspondent
THE introduction of mobile execution vans, in which condemned prisoners are put to death by lethal injection, has been hailed in Chinese media as "a more humane method of dispatch".
Last Thursday afternoon, two farmers from Yunnan province convicted of heroin trafficking "benefited from the latest advance in China's judicial system", the Beijing Today newspaper reported.
Earlier that morning, Yunnan's legal authorities held a work conference on the death penalty at which they approved the use of 18 specially converted vans, to be distributed among the province's 17 intermediate courts and its high court. Shortly afterwards, farmers Liu Huafu, 21, and Zhou Chaojie, 25, died peacefully within one minute of receiving their fatal shots in one of the new vans, which in photographs look like ordinary police vans except that they are emblazoned with the word "Court".
The normal execution method in China is a bullet by firing squad to the back of the head, but lethal injection has been allowed since a revision of the criminal code in 1997. Yunnan chose the vans on the grounds of efficiency and cost: in a very big province, they bypass the logistical difficulties of transporting prisoners to execution grounds.
"With lethal injection, only four people are required to execute the death penalty: one executioner, one member of the court, one from the procuratorate and one forensic doctor. A dozen guards are also required to keep watch around the van," the paper said.
"In contrast, many more guards are needed for firing squads, both around the site and along the route from the prison. If the case is well-known and complicated, security needs to be further enhanced and extra expenses are incurred."
Yunnan Provincial High Court president Zhao Shijie was quoted as saying "the use of lethal injection shows that China's death penalty system is becoming more civilised and humane". But Professor Wang Shizhou of Beijing University said it was a "very sad development".
"You can say it is a positive development compared with a gunshot, but you can also say it is a negative development. It will encourage executions," he said.
In China there are 320 listed criminal offences, of which 68 or about one in seven, including many white-collar crimes are punishable by death. In recent months, a cautious public debate has begun in which scholars and legislators have expressed concern about the likelihood of wrongful executions. At a conference on the death penalty late last year, the removal of economic crimes from the list of offences punishable by death was proposed as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.
China has never revealed how many prisoners are executed each year, but it is estimated at about 10,000.
Since 1998, a total of 819,000 Chinese have been either condemned to death or jailed for more than five years, the president of China's Supreme Court said this week.
This was a 25 per cent increase on the previous five years, said Xiao Yang in his annual report to the National People's Congress, China's parliament. Including lesser crimes, there were altogether 3.2 million people convicted.
The number convicted for economic crimes was almost 70 per cent higher than in the previous five years.
Wouldn't the poison spoil the organs?
They didn't mention the Texas license plates and the "Have a Nice Day" bumper sticker.
I'll guarantee you it's not, those organs can bring $50,000 or more.
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