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China Airs Prisoners’ Final Hours Before Execution

Agnus Dei Farrant |
March 1, 2013 | 12:45 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

Chinese TV tower (Nikita Avvakumov/Creative Commons).
Chinese TV tower (Nikita Avvakumov/Creative Commons).

Chinese state television live broadcast the final moments of a foreign drug lord and his three accomplices before their execution by lethal injection Friday. The two-hour special has sparked outrage.

Naw Kham, 44, of Myanmar and his accomplices were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in November for the killing of 13 Chinese sailors aboard two cargo boats on the Mekong River in 2011.

The sailors were ambushed, shot to death while tied up with rope, the Los Angeles Times reported. Their bodies were then dumped in the river. 

An outraged Chinese government launched an international manhunt that led to the capture and extradition of Naw Kham and his accomplices from Laos. 

According to BBC, China Youth Daily stressed that China had full rights to prosecute the foreigners on its soil.

The nearly hour-long live coverage showed the men being taken from their prison cells in southwestern Yunnan Province with their hands secured behind their backs with ropes, the Times reported. The coverage also showed a doctor in a white coat preparing the lethal injections but the cameras pulled away before the prisoners were injected.

From the Times: 

Psychologists decried the live coverage as distressing to children, while lawyers complained that it violated a clause in the criminal code against parading the condemned before execution.

"This carnival on CCTV was a violation not only of ethics, but of the criminal code regulations that the death penalty not be carried out in public," wrote human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan on a microblog. Many on the microblogs, however, applauded the execution of the four drug traffickers.

BBC reported that He Jingjun, associate professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing and commentator for The Beijing News, called the execution a “milestone in the protection of Chinese citizens overseas.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, China executes 4,000 people each year.

Naw Kham was interviewed earlier this week.

"I am afraid of death,” he said. “I want to live. I don't want to die. I have children. I am afraid."


Reach Executive Producer Agnus Dei Farrant here.




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