Execution parade angers Chinese

2013-03-01 16:17
This frame grab taken from Chinese TV CCTV shows convicted murderer and gang leader Naw Kham of Burma listening to the review of his death penalty in Yunnan Province. (CCTV, AFP)

This frame grab taken from Chinese TV CCTV shows convicted murderer and gang leader Naw Kham of Burma listening to the review of his death penalty in Yunnan Province. (CCTV, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - An "execution parade" on China's state television of four foreign men sentenced to death for killing 13 sailors on the Mekong River caused anger in China on Friday, with many people saying it was an unnecessary display of vengeance.

The 2011 murder of the Chinese sailors was one of the deadliest assaults on Chinese nationals overseas in modern times and prompted the government to send gunboat patrols to the region downstream from its border.

Chief suspect Naw Kham, extradited to China by Lao officials in May, was found guilty of the killings of the sailors last year in the "Golden Triangle" region known for drug smuggling, where the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet.

Naw Kham, from Myanmar, and the three others were executed by lethal injection in the Chinese city of Kunming, but not before being paraded live on state television, trussed with ropes and shackled in chains, as police led them from the jail to a bus taking them to the place of execution.

The actual execution was not shown.

"Using two hours to broadcast live the process for these criminals facing the death penalty is a violation of Article 252 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China," said prominent human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan.

"This provision says that criminals facing the death penalty cannot be put on public display."

The broadcast by China Central Television also violated a law by the Supreme People's Court that a "person's dignity should never be insulted", Liu said.

Chinese television used to show such scenes regularly but largely stopped almost two decades ago, though they still crop up occasionally on provincial channels.

‘Not appropriate’

The return to this practice sparked outrage from many on social media sites.

"They tied him in ropes and paraded him in front of 1.3 billion Chinese - is this what the human rights the government always stresses is really all about?" wrote on user on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog.

"I know they killed 13 Chinese people and it was a terrible thing, but it's really not appropriate to live broadcast the execution process like this and it goes against Supreme Court rules," wrote another.

The hunt for Naw Kham got heavy play in Chinese media, with some newspapers trumpeting his capture as akin to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces.

The widely read tabloid the Global Times said that China had even considered conducting its first drone strikes to kill Naw Kham, but authorities decided they wanted to take him alive and put him on trial.

One of the other three executed men was Thai, one was Lao and the other was stateless, Chinese media said.

China is believed to execute thousands of people annually - the exact number is a state secret - and there is widespread support for the death penalty, though the number of crimes that carry it has been reduced in recent years.

But the parading of the for convicted of the Mekong murders would raise questions for Chinese people about the use of executions, said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group.

"It's predatory, voyeuristic and exploitative and that defeats the very purpose of having a legal system," he said.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  china  |  human rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.