China has recently been sentencing criminals to death in public to reportedly deter people from committing serious crimes.
Thousands of people, including children, witnessed the sentencing of 12 criminals — 10 of whom were recently given death sentences at a sports stadium in the town of Donghai, Lufeng, in southern China’s Guangdong Province.
The convicted drug dealers, murderers and robbers were publicly sentenced by Shanwei Intermediate People’s Court and Lufeng People’s Court at around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in a bid to “help educate the public against committing crimes
.” According to Sina
), there have been three of such public sentencing rallies in Guangdong so far since June. Prior to Saturday’s rally, two similar events were held in the last six months: one in June held at a stadium in Shanwei, and another in November, held at a public square in Jieyang.
For the latest rally, the Lufeng People’s Court even issued a public notice on December 12, inviting local residents to attend. During the event, a judge reportedly announces verdicts and sentences for the criminals which had already been made prior to the rally. Those who were given the death sentence last Saturday were immediately executed at an execution ground in Lufeng.
A footage of the event emerged on local social media platforms showing a judge announcing the criminals’ crimes and punishment in front of a large audience which included young students. After the announcement, the criminals were then taken one by one to the court’s vehicles on their way to the execution ground.
Chinese media have since criticized the spectacle of announcing death sentences in public calling the activity “inhumane” and “insulting” to people. Shen Bin, a columnist on Beijing News condemned the practice, noting that while the local authority was trying to scare the local criminals and boost people’s sense of social security, it shouldn’t break humanity’s bottom line which was protected by the law. Calling for an end to such public sentencing rallies, the columnist pointed out a regulation issued by China’s Public Security Bureau in 1988 which prohibited courts from publicly shaming criminals.
Local authorities in Guangdong have been cracking down on drug criminals as the province has reportedly become a hotbed for drug production and cross-border smuggling in recent years.