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  • Welcome back to another one of our episodes in which we dig deep to bring you tales of

  • the worst things humans have done to each other in the name of justice.

  • Today we won't be talking about the dark past, nor are we going to describe to you

  • something bloody and brutal, but what you are about to hear is certainly in the realms

  • of shocking.

  • The worst part is, this is going on in today's world.

  • Without further ado, let's have a look at what have been called China's vans of death.

  • They were introduced in China in 1997 and have been used ever since.

  • You could say they're kind of like ice cream trucks that visit certain neighborhoods, except

  • for the fact they are, in the words of one human rights organization, “like government-sanctioned

  • death squads.”

  • Why would China do such a thing, you're likely wondering?

  • Well, while most of the world thinks the death vans are barbaric, China thinks they are more

  • humanitarian and more cost-effective than sending someone to a site of execution.

  • As you'll see at the end, some people in China are actually very proud of their death

  • vans.

  • Let us explain why.

  • We don't exactly know how many people are executed each year in China, but recent reports

  • say that it's more than 1,000, which puts the country in first place for the number

  • of executions.

  • Back in the late 90s and the early 2000s, it was estimated that the number of executions

  • could have been 12,000 or more.

  • There are 46 capital crimes in China and we won't mention them all.

  • Seven of them are related toCrimes Endangering National Security”, such as rioting and

  • rebellion, urging people to separate from the state, or spying.

  • You can also be executed for embezzlement, or prison escape, for intentional assault,

  • or even the production or sale of counterfeit medicine.

  • So, did people committing any of these crimes get a visit from the execution van?

  • Well, first of all, like the USA, there are appeals processes in place for those that

  • have been handed the death sentence, and since the mid-2000s, more and more sentences have

  • been overturned.

  • Vans don't just turn up at houses and start whacking people.

  • There's a lengthy due process just like in most countries, and like in the U.S., a

  • person can have a last minute stop of execution.

  • Under article 252 of Chinese law, it's written that people will get the firing squad or be

  • given a lethal injection of drugs.

  • There's something else in that article that is important for today's show, and that's

  • the fact that people can be executed at an execution ground, or a “designated place

  • of custody”.

  • Ok, so now you're wondering what an execution ground is.

  • Well, things don't go down like they do in the USA.

  • In China, if a person is to be executed by firing squad, an execution ground is set up,

  • usually close to where the condemned is being held.

  • This has three perimeters, with the inner circle being the execution place, the second

  • circle being where the People's Armed Police guard, and the outer perimeter is where local

  • police guard.

  • As you can imagine, that all takes a bit of effort and money, and so more and more people

  • have been getting legally whacked at a designated place of custody.

  • This is where the vans come in.

  • The vans only deliver a lethal injection.

  • No one gets shot in the van, of course.

  • In fact, it's written that in some provinces and municipalities lethal injection is now

  • the only form of capital punishment.

  • A man named Kang Zhongwen designed one of the vans that was called the Jinguan Automobile

  • death van.

  • He said in 2006 that giving people lethal injection rather than shooting them was more

  • humane.

  • He also said the van is much cheaper than setting up execution sites that are not always

  • in the same place where the crime took place.

  • He said that's good for saving money, but it also acts as a deterrent when local people

  • get to see the death van swing by their village or town.

  • So, what exactly happens?

  • Well, when the death squad arrives, the prisoner is led to the van by at least four people.

  • All this has to be videoed so that law enforcement authorities can see everything goes down as

  • it should.

  • This is important because in the past those doing the executions would sometimes harvest

  • organs from the condemned and sell them.

  • That's not to say organ harvesting of prisoners isn't still going on, but that's a story

  • for another day.

  • Let's just say that if organs are still harvested, like Amnesty International seems

  • to think, death vans would be convenient in another way.

  • Not all the vans are alike, but we know exactly what the Jinguan Automobile death van looks

  • like because Mr. Zhongwen was interviewed.

  • He said in 2006, “I'm most proud of the bed.

  • It's very humane, like an ambulance.”

  • He added that it's brutal to drag someone into the van, so the stretcher-like bed slides

  • out of the van and the prisoner can be killed with ease.

  • It's fast, it's convenient, and it's cheap, like a one stop-service for execution.

  • Another thing pointed out, this time by a Chinese lawyer, is the fact that execution

  • by firing squad can be messy, which is not good for the family of the deceased.

  • He said that when a person is shot he has to open his mouth so that the bullet goes

  • right through the head.

  • That makes less mess and causes less distress for the grieving family of the deceased, but

  • only if the executioner's aim is perfect.

  • As you can see, for the Chinese authorities the death vans are a winner in so many ways.

  • That's why China has made about 40 of them to date, each the same, all equipped with

  • CCTV and an electric-powered bed that comes out of the back.

  • The lethal injection is no different from one that you'd find in the U.S. and the

  • service is delivered the same way as you'd expect in the U.S.

  • So, you might ask, why are human rights organizations criticizing China for its death vans?

  • Well, we said they are extolled for their convenience, but those organizations say they

  • are too convenient.

  • They don't deny that China isn't saving tons of cash and they don't say the actual

  • execution is any worse than it is in the U.S., but they say that mobile capital punishment

  • just makes killing too easy.

  • They say it will lead to an increase in executions and other critics have said the vans are just

  • a little too similar to the mobile gas chambers used by the Germans during world war two.

  • As we said, we don't know exactly how many people are executed in China, but we do know

  • of some well-known people that got a visit from the van.

  • A Chinese billionaire named Yuan Baojing went to the van in 2006 after being convicted of

  • murder, corruption, and being part of a mafia-like company.

  • He'd been in a long feud with another billionaire named Liu Han, and guess what, he also went

  • to the van, but years later in 2014.

  • Corrupt politicians are not exempt from the death penalty.

  • In 2007, the van visited a Mr. Zheng Xiaoyu, the former director of the State Food and

  • Drug Administration of the People's Republic of China.

  • He'd done shady deals with shady medicine suppliers and allowed dangerous drugs to enter

  • China.

  • He was paid handsomely in bribes, but people died because of the dangerous medicines.

  • Seeing as the death van is convenient we imagine hundreds of people are being visited by the

  • van each year.

  • In fact, one spokesperson for a death van company told the media, “We have not sold

  • our execution cars to foreign countries yet.

  • But if they need one, they could contact our company directly.”

  • We're not too sure if the death van export business has taken off just yet, but you never

  • know, maybe other countries will catch on to the convenience.

  • Now you need to watch this, “The Blood Eagle - Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind.”

  • Or have a look at this

Welcome back to another one of our episodes in which we dig deep to bring you tales of

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China's Mobile Execution Vans - Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/23
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