China executes 4 foreigners, televises death march
China executed four foreigners on Friday for killing 13 Chinese sailors in an attack on the Mekong River, following a live nationwide broadcast showing them being led to their deaths that harkened back to the mass public execution rallies of past years.
The attack on the sailors on the Mekong highlighted drug smuggling and extortion rackets along the vital waterway and led to a major expansion of Chinese police powers in the region.
Accused ringleader Naw Kham and accomplices Hsang Kham, Yi Lai, and Zha Xiha were found guilty of the killings. The four are of Myanmar, Thai, Laotian, and unknown nationality.
In the unusual live broadcast, state-run CCTV showed the four being led in shackles and handcuffs from their cells at a jail in southwestern Yunnan province’s capital of Kunming prior to their execution by lethal injection. Their deaths were announced two hours later by the Yunnan provincial police department.
China has mostly abandoned the once-common practice of parading condemned criminals before crowds in stadiums and through city streets on the way to execution grounds on the edge of cities.
The broadcast was a response to widespread Chinese outrage over the killings, as well as an attempt to emphasize the heinousness of the crime and the efficiency of China’s police and courts in doling out justice, said Prof. Yu Guoming of Renmin University’s School of Mass Media.
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