The Violence That Poisons the Air We Breathe

At South China Morning Post, Chang Ping decries the socially corrosive effect of capital punishment and the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding it. He cites media coverage of Xiamen bus arson suspect Chen Shuizong, spared from facing execution by his own death during the attack, and the warm reception of a recent move to make severe pollution a capital crime.

[…] It is no surprise that the Chinese public, long suffering from poisonous air, is overwhelmingly supportive of the move. “Chaotic times call for draconian laws,” as the traditional Chinese saying goes.

[…] One explanation, offered by Dr Teng Biao, a legal expert and activist who has campaigned relentlessly to abolish the death penalty, seems to make sense. The death penalty is necessary for Chinese politics, he told me at the congress. The Communist Party, who seized power by violent revolution and now consolidates its power with nationalism, seeks to legitimise violence by teaching hate against “class enemies” and “enemy states” through schools and propaganda machines.

Hence, we grow up believing in “an eye for an eye,” believing the cleansing power of the death penalty. We remain blind to the fact that violence and hate themselves are the fundamental sources of pollution, poisoning our hearts and our minds. [Source]


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