Why Are The Thirty-Year-Old Execution Photos Of A Corrupt Female Government Official So Popular On The Internet?

Roland Soong of EastSouthWestNorth translates a Xinhua article on the unexpected popularity of execution photos taken in 1980.

On April 23, 1979, the People’s Daily had an exclusive news report: In Heilongjiang province, the largest corrupt gang was busted. The criminal Wang Shouxin and others were arrested and investigated for the crimes of sharing illegal profits and then hiding and covering up the loot.

On February 28, 1980, this principal criminal of this internationally known crime — Heilongjiang Province Bingyuan County Combustible Fuel manager and party secretary Wang Shouxin — faced the legal consequences. You can call her a “corrupt official” but she is a merely a manager of a combustible fuel company. Nobody knows what the rank might be in the hierarchy of officialdom but it is probably the lowest possible.

A few years ago, the process of her execution was published by the photographer at the scene and then broadly circulated on the Internet. Recently, someone posted these photos on Sohu.com. Within a few days (ending 4pm on May 3), those photos had been seen by 1.132 million persons. The popularity was astonishing.

Ordinarily speaking, when a life is terminated, one should be studying the pathos of the death, no matter how much this person deserves to die. But why are so many people looking at these photos in so many different ways (calmly, emotionally, carefully or thoughtfully)? Some people even long for this scene to occur today. Now that is truly thought-provoking.



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