Photoseries: Last Hours on Death Row

A photoseries has surfaced on the Chinese Internet which depicts the last 12 hours in the lives of four condemned female drug dealers before their 2003 execution in Wuhan, with captions translated via chinaSMACK:

On the eve of the 2003 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the lives of four female drug dealers in the city of Wuhan were coming to an end. With the permission of the relevant departments and the subjects themselves, on 9pm on 2003 June 24th, this press photographer walked into the Wuhan No. 1 Detention Center and captured their last night spent at the detention center.

The photoseries follows the four women, among the approximately 20 prisoners executed that day, as they ate their final meals, picked out their last outfits, laughed, sang and cried in the company of prison guards and ordinary prisoners before they were led to a public sentencing area and then to the execution grounds. ChinaSMACK also translated a range of comments from Chinese netizens about the photos and the broader social implications of the executions, including the following:

凤凰网北京市网友:网络路人甲 – “When I think of those people whose lives have been ruined by drugs and would be better off dead, death is not a sufficient for the crimes of these female prisoners who have killed others for profit in their drug trafficking. Lethal injection is letting them off too easy. They should be shot ten times.”

凤凰网黑龙江省鸡西市网友:昨夜星辰111444 – “Drug trafficking is indeed detestable, but being sentenced to death for just carrying 7000 grams of drugs… Then what about that guy on the TV news several days ago who had committed 9 major crimes? Just one of his crime should be a death sentence. Drug trafficking, raping underage girls, gun possession, organized prostitution, organized crime… which one of these is not enough for the death penalty??? But he was only sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 650,000. The country’s laws truly are sound, or does it discriminate between people??”

凤凰网陕西省咸阳市网友:手机用户 – “One cannot take this path no matter how poor they are. Think about it, how many people will be ruined by all those drugs? If simply posting a few photographs could get one sympathy, then is this society’s thinking too sick? Corrupt officials cannot be spared, but no matter the reason drug traffickers too cannot be forgiven.”

凤凰网黑龙江省齐齐哈尔市网友:yuxiaolin651127 – “They deserve to die, and those shameless corrupt officials deserve to die ten times more, a hundred times more, a thousand times more, ten thousand times more.

The Beijing Evening News profiled judicial police officer and executioner Hu Jiao last month in another rare glimpse into the world of capital punishment in China. Executions have reportedly declined by 35% over the past year, though most experts claim such statistics reveal nothing about the true number. Still, surveys indicate a limited desire for transparency among Chinese citizens.

See also previous CDT coverage of the death penalty in China.