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Prisoners Executed on Chinese TV

Public executions are back, apparently, at least in China. The Chinese government broadcast a two-hour television special Friday during which four foreign drug traffickers were sent to their deaths by lethal injection. Two years ago, the men were convicted of killing 13 Chinese sailors. Some in China thought the television special was a cathartic delivery of justice, while others condemned the television special as violent and tasteless, comparing it to the bygone tradition of parading prisoners through the streets before their executions. “Rather than showcasing rule of law, the program displayed state control over human life in a manner designed to attract gawkers,” a Chinese criminal-law professor blogged. “State-administered violence is no loftier than criminal violence.”

March 1, 2013 10:22 AM