Beijing’s mobile execution vans exposed
China has been branded the world’s worst executioner as the state kills thousands of people every year using firing squads, lethal injections and mobile death vans.
The true numbers of those killed by the Communist Party are thought to be staggeringly high – but the regime keeps them closely concealed as state secrets.
Human rights experts said the vile system has come into spotlight again after the killing of Chinese tycoon Lai Xiaomin.
He was executed last month on corruption charges – as in China even white collar crimes and drugs charges can land a person on death row.
And should you end up in the dock be wary, as Chinese prosecutors have a conviction rate of around 99 per cent as they doom thousands to execution.
Firing squads and lethal injections are two favourite methods of execution used by China.
Killer jabs were legalised by the regime in the 90s and are sometimes administered in one of the state‘s mobile “execution vans”.
Convicts are said to loaded into van and strapped to a table where they are administered the lethal injection.
Organs are then believed harvested from executed prisoners without any permission, for use in medicine and scientific experiments.
Amnesty International has named China as the world’s worst executor by a large margin – with its body count believed to be larger than the rest of the world’s combine total of 657.
While other nations had total figures, China’s shadowy death penalty system left the human rights group only able to offer a grim estimate of “thousands”.
Amnesty’s China researcher Kai Ong said China often holds mass rallies to announce people being sentenced to death in medieval-style public trials.
Ms Ong said: “The Chinese government still sees the use of the death penalty as an effective deterrent to crimes.
“Each June, local governments often hold mass sentencing rallies, in which students, teachers and the public are invited to witness the court handing down death penalty to individuals convicted of drug-related crimes.”
Firing squad executions were meant to have been discontinued in 2010, but there are many examples that this practice continues.
For example, Zhao Zewei was gunned down after stabbing nine schoolchildren to death.
Lethal injections have taken over as the main form of execution in the People’s Republic due to its cheaper cost and more secretive nature.
Mobile deaths vans meanwhile allow the execution of prisoners without having to transport them to a jail.
These vehicles were introduced in 2003 and although there have been reports that they are no longer used, Amnesty has said this is not the case.
With secrecy surrounding the Chinese death vans, victims are not often named due to the speed in which they are tried and executed.
One of the only victims named as an example was Mafia kingpin Liu Yong, who was given a lethal injection after being tried for wilfully causing harm to others, despite claims his confession was extracted under torture.
Ms Ong told The Sun Online although the Chinese government claims that less people are being executed – this is likely no the case.
The expert added: “Although the Chinese government follows the policy of killing fewer, killing cautiously, it also sees the use of the death penalty as an effective deterrent to serious crimes, especially drug-related crimes.
“The Chinese authorities continue to impose death sentences and carry out executions for a wide range of offences, including drug-related offences, that do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’, to which the death penalty must be restricted under international human rights law.
“It is unlikely that the number of new death sentences and executions will go down significantly in the near future.”
And the lack of public outcry on the death penalty in China may not even be due to state secrecy.
Prof William Schabas, author of Amnesty‘s death penalty report, told The Sun Online how members of the public in China simply aren’t that bothered by it, and are even in support of it.
He told us: “Public opinion is still quite positive about the death penalty.
“If you do a survey you’ll find there’s a significant majority of people who are in favour of the death penalty.”
Mr Xiaomin, a delegate on the People‘s Congress, is far from the first high profile Chinese official to have been executed in China in recent times.
Former Communist Party chief of a Chinese Village Cai Dongjia was executed in 2019, after being branded the “Chinese godfather of crystal meth”.
Chinese politician and senior lawyer Duan Yihe was executed after killing his mistress in a car bomb.
China was also the first country to carry out a coronavirus-related execution.
Last year, Ma Jinguo was executed after killing two government officials at a coronavirus checkpoint.
And meanwhile, Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg remains on death row after being sentenced to death for drug smuggling.
Canada is fighting against his execution as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Communist Party of “arbitrary” use of the death penalty.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission