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November 30, 2011

Comments

Dan Hardie

That was horrible. I normally avoid reading stuff about executions- having made an exception, I think that's my ration for the next few years.

It was remarkable the way the guards at the prison were smiling with the prisoners, and doing things like painting their nails for them and buying their execution clothes. I suppose it's obvious that if you're going to be executed in public, there will be a culture of looking good in your last moments- we had the same when people were hanged at Tyburn.

ajay

Reminded me very much of accounts of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. And Charles I wearing two shirts because it was January and he didn't want to shiver in case people thought he was afraid.

john b

The thing I find most terrifying about these pics/China death row (and indeed, death row in most Asian countries that have the death penalty outside of Japan and South Korea) is that people are mostly there for the non-crime of supplying enjoyable substances to people who enjoy them. At least in the US, the people the state is murdering have been sent there for doing something unspeakably awful, rather than something that would be legal in a sane world.

Dan Hardie

Quite a lot of murderers in the ChinaSmack post.

Although one of them was a young girl who killed the man who had bought her to use as a sex slave, raped her, beaten her, broken one of her legs to prevent her running away, slashed her with a knife, impregnated her and then murdered her baby. Even in a country that has the death penalty, I do find it astonishing that she was executed.

A question for James and Jamie- would she still be executed for that today? Or would there be some kind of online outcry if someone like that was sentenced to death?

Barry Freed

What's up with blurring the eyes of the condemned in the Ministry of Tofu story?

At least in the US, the people the state is murdering have purportedly been sent there for doing something unspeakably awful, rather than something that would be legal in a sane world.

FTFY

Dan asks a good question.

Cian

the people the state is murdering have been sent there for doing something unspeakably awful, rather than something that would be legal in a sane world.

You left out the phrase "in theory".

Alex

"Does my hair incommode you?"

jamie

Dan: yes, notably in the Deng Yujiao case:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deng_Yujiao_incident

Though, obviously, it's not a reliabe source of redress. You also occasionally get internet campaigns designed to ensure people are executed (children of high ranking officials, for instance.)

I think it's less likely that someone in that position would be executed today, if only because the authorisation for the death penalty) now has to be given by higher courts (at least provincial level, I think, though I may be wrong) which means there's less chance of lower level officials using executions to cover up scandals. However, during strike hard campaigns against crimes considered to be acute social problems, the courts have to deliver death penalties by quota, which is why so many crimes in China (over 60, I think) carry the death penalty.

You'll have noticed the woman tied up in court with a rope round her neck, which I don't think happens these days, either. That was done to prevent the accused speaking out of turn . Prior to that the practice used to be to have a burly cop stand by ready to dislocate his or her jaw by wrenching it to one side. And so you have these steady baby steps away from barbarity.

JamesP

I would be skeptical of many of the ChinaSmack stories. God knows that kind of thing happens, but several stories all seem to hit pretty similar beats, and execution photos have a long history of having stuff made up about them (like 18th century thieves' stories.) There used to be a fair number of pictures going around claiming people were being executed for "Tibetan independence" or "being Falun Gong members," which were really "regular" murder or drug cases.

The legal establishment is trying to dial back on the death penalty, but there's a lot of public support for it. One reason for that is because corrupt officials, etc, who get prison sentences often get released v. early behind the scenes.

On the unspeaking front, Cultural Revolution prisoners sometimes had their vocal cords slit before trial.

Dan Hardie

Cheers, Jamie and James.

I must admit I rather hope that that particular ChinaSmack story was made up, because what it described happening to that girl was horrendous. On the other hand, if several stories all sound the same, all that might tell us is that depravity runs in the same old ruts.

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