In a brutal display of “justice”, China executed 15 men sentenced to death in a single day in Changsha City, the capital of southern China’s Hunan Province.
The sentencing was announced at a public assembly on December 29, 2011 at a stadium of Hunan University in Changsha where the men were put on display and paraded around the stadium, “packed with people from all walks of life,” before being taken away for execution, Chinese media reported.
The assembly intended to “strike hard on criminal activities” has, however, drawn strong public criticism and sparked an online controversy.
The fifteen men were sentenced to death for allegedly carrying out crimes of murder, robbery, and an explosion at a branch office of the Changsha municipal office of State Administration of Taxation in June 2010. Chinese media announced that they were “criminals who seriously endangered public security.”
A blog, titled Changsha’s Overnight Return to the Great Cultural Revolution Era, said: “Public trials and parading of prisoners is incompatible with a civilized society that implements the rule of law, but they have become increasingly frequent [in China] over the past few years.”
In photos that were recently released, Tibetans “accused” of peacefully demonstrating against the Chinese government have been being publicly paraded with boards announcing their “crimes” hung around their necks and their hands tied at the back.
Blogger Xiaohe wrote, “It is bad enough to parade prisoners in public, yet they even did it on a college campus.”
Photos published on Chinese media showed all 15 prisoners wearing a scarf around their necks. One blogger wondered, “Was there something inside [the scarves] to restrain their necks so they wouldn’t cry out for justice?”
Another blogger wrote: “Not a single corrupt official amongst the condemned, even though there are corrupt officials everywhere and just 200,000 RMB [embezzled] qualifies for the death penalty”.
China, as a state, kills the largest number of prisoners in the world with unofficial estimates of executions running into tens of thousands annually.
According to an Amnesty International 2010 report, the Chinese regime executes more people each year than the rest of world put together, but does not make its numbers public.
Amnesty’s Claudio Cordone said, “No one who is sentenced to death in China receives a fair trial in accordance with international human rights standards.”