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December 19, 2017

Notable account of notable application of death penalty in China

This article from The Guardian, headlined "Thousands in China watch as 10 people sentenced to death in sport stadium," highlights that criminal procedure and drug enforcement in another large nation can look a lot different than they do in the United States.  Here are the details:

A court in China has sentenced 10 people to death, mostly for drug-related crimes, in front of thousands of onlookers before taking them away for execution.

The 10 people were executed immediately after the sentencing in Lufeng in southern Guangdong province, just 160km (100 miles) from Hong Kong, according to state-run media. Seven of the 10 executed were convicted of drug-related crimes, while others were found guilty of murder and robbery.

Four days before the event, local residents were invited to attend the sentencing in an official notice circulated on social media.  The accused were brought to the stadium on the back of police trucks with their sirens blaring, each person flanked by four officers wearing sunglasses.

They were brought one by one to a small platform set up on what is usually a running track to have their sentences read, according to video of the trial.  Thousands watched the spectacle, with some reports saying students in their school uniforms attended. People stood on their seats while others crowded onto the centre of the field, some with their mobile phones raised to record the event, others chatting or smoking.

China executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined, although the exact figure is not published and considered a state secret.  Last year the country carried out about 2,000 death sentences, according to estimates by the Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights NGO based in the United States.  China maintains the death penalty for a host of non-violent offences, such as drug trafficking and economic crimes.

However, public trials in China are rare.  The country’s justice system notoriously favours prosecutors and Chinese courts have a 99.9% conviction rate. The trend to reintroduce open-air sentencing trials is reminiscent of the early days of the People’s Republic, when capitalists and landowners were publicly denounced.

The most recent public sentencing and subsequent executions were not a first for Lufeng. Eight people were sentenced to death for drug crimes and summarily executed five months ago in a similar public trial, according to state media.

The town was the site of a large drug bust in 2014, when 3,000 police descended on Lufeng and arrested 182 people. Police confiscated three tonnes of crystal meth, and authorities at the time said the area was responsible for producing a third of China’s meth.

December 19, 2017 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

Comments

I oppose public executions. They ate highly rewarding in attention. They will inspire murderers seeking such attention. They may also contribute to an effect causing a jump in suicide. Chinese researchers should secretly study the number of suicides in the time after such news, and similar times of the years without such news. They may be killing four times as many ill people by suicide as criminals by execution.

The Chinese are also responsible, nor for 2000 executions for drug related offenses. They are responsible for 60,000 deaths for drug related offenses in the United States, by their supplying carfentanyl to heroin dealers.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 19, 2017 12:05:33 PM

The Chinese think that imitating us is effective. They went 10% capitalist and became the biggest economy in the world.

In revenge, we infected them with the overlawyering bug. Imagine taking the bar exam in the 20,000 character alphabet of Mandarin. They are copying us by increasing the number of their lawyers. As a result, crime is shooting up in China.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 19, 2017 12:08:58 PM

"The country’s justice system notoriously favours prosecutors and Chinese courts have a 99.9% conviction rate."

How is that different from the US? We have a 95% plea agreement rate. We then have an 80% conviction rate after a trial. That is a total of 99% conviction rate in the US.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 19, 2017 12:12:51 PM

"How is that different from the US? We have a 95% plea agreement rate. We then have an 80% conviction rate after a trial. That is a total of 99% conviction rate in the US."

The conviction rate after a trial is 75% meaning that the total conviction rate is more like 98%. Get your facts straight.

Posted by: Lumpy | Dec 19, 2017 12:20:21 PM

Thank you, Lumpy. I always admit to my mistakes.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 19, 2017 3:28:44 PM

No offense lumpy but 1% is a rounding error

Posted by: Rodsmith3510 | Dec 19, 2017 5:25:32 PM

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