A Glimpse into the Life of a Chinese Executioner

Reuters reports on a profile in the Beijing Evening News of Hu Xiao, a judicial police officer and executioner, who described his routine of shooting condemned prisoners:

“In fact, it’s not as complicated as outsiders think. We all use rifles, stand about four meters from the condemned prisoner with a barrel one meter-long, take aim, press the trigger, and that’s that,” Hu told the newspaper.

Most prisoners taken for execution are so terrified they collapse on the ground and cannot stand, Hu said. The exception was an ex-soldier convicted of homicide, he said.

“At the time of execution, the criminals kneel on the ground, but this former soldier actually stood up and ran forward. The result was a moving target that was taken down,” said Hu, himself a former soldier who has worked as a police officer for 19 years.

“These people all deserved what they got for their crimes.”

While international organizations and some Chinese citizens scoff at the decline in the country’s reported executions and seek more transparency, news of two death penalty decisions emerged in the Chinese press last week. A court in northeastern China sentenced three people to death Sunday for arson in connection with a hotel fire which killed 11. And the government sent a signal that it is serious about stamping out shadow lending last week when a Zhejiang court handed down the death penalty to three men convicted of running a fraudulent fundraising scheme in Wenzhou, the epicenter of China’s growing credit woes.

See also previous CDT coverage of the death penalty in China, including the July death sentence given to a China Mobile executive for bribery and the summertime execution of two former vice-Mayors for similar charges.

November 14, 2011 8:03 AM
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