In Depth Look at the Law: China's Death Penalty - 1: The Death Vans and Black Market Organ Trade

The death van silently rolls into town collecting and executing condemned inmates. Falun Gong practitioners suddenly disappear or die unexplained deaths.

Both actions derive from the Chinese government's corruption and greed.

Substantial evidence demonstrates that China is grossly profiting from the black-market organ trade by using condemned prisoners and Falun Gong captives to supply much needed organs to high-paying customers.

Seeking to avoid backlash from the international community, especially in this highly publicized time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China has deceptively utilized the more inconspicuous death vans and Falun Gong captives to continue its illegal organ extraction and transplantation activities.

The death penalty has been employed in China since the dawn of recorded history.[1]

Scholars date the first recorded public execution in China as early as 2601 B.C. [2] According to Epoch Times, there are 320 offenses that are currently punishable by death in China.[3]

Many of those executed in China are not even considered criminals by internationally accepted standards. [4] In fact, sixty-nine percent of the capital crimes covered by the Chinese criminal code are not violent in nature.[5]

For example, capital crimes include engaging in tax fraud, producing counterfeit currency, embezzling state property, demanding or accepting bribes, smuggling contraband across China's borders, pimping, and killing panda bears. [6] In addition, some capital crimes are vague, which include funding or committing terrorist crimes, belonging to a terrorist organization, and producing, trading, and storing toxic chemicals without authorization.[7]

Defendants sentenced to death are often executed within minutes or hours after the failure of their appeal.[8]

Instead of providing any thought to the comfort of prisoners condemned to death, the emphasis is placed on exhibiting the Chinese government's swift and firm hand of justice. [9] One research foundation estimated that 7,500-8,000 Chinese people were executed in 2006 alone. [10]

Death vans

In March 2003, the Chinese official press reported that the Yunnan Province purchased eighteen mobile execution units or "death vans." [11] The death vans shuttle from town to town doling out capital punishment.[12]

These mobile execution units were buses that were bought and converted for 500,000 Yuan each.[13] The vans are windowless, converted twenty-four seat buses that contain a metal bed where the prisoner is strapped down in preparation for execution. [14] The van is also equipped with a video monitor next to the driver's seat. [15] Once the procedure begins, the doctor inserts the needle, and the police officer presses a button to release the lethal cocktail into the prisoner's veins.[16]

The Supreme People's Court has urged all the courts throughout China to purchase these death vans to facilitate efficient executions.[17]

The death vans are more cost-effective, especially for small rural areas, to carry out local executions. [18] Otherwise, these small regions would need to build execution facilities or send their inmates to Beijing to be executed.[19]

Next week: More on the Death Vans and their use for organ transplantation; the methods of execution in China, and more....

[1]. Kelly M. Brown, Comment: Execution for Profit? A Constitutional Analysis of China's Practice of Harvesting Executed Prisoner' Organs, 6 Seton Hall Const. L.J. 1029, 1062 (Summer 1996).

[2]. Id.

[3]. Dennis Charleton, Mobile Death Vans - Good for Human Rights?, The Epoch Times, July 2, 2006, ¶ 4, available at http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-7-2/43479.html (last visited Jul. 28, 2008).

[4]. Organs for Sale: China's Growing Trade and Ultimate Violation of Prisoners' Rights: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Int'l. Ops. and Human Rights of the Comm. on Int'l. Relations, 107th Cong. 8 (2001) [hereinafter Organs] (statement of Cal. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations).

[5]. People's Republic of China: Executed "According to Law"?-the Death Penalty in China, Amnesty Int'l (ASA 17/003/2004) Mar. 22, 2004, at 9 [hereinafter Executed], available at http://www.amnesty.ca/amnestynews/upload/asa1700304.pdf (last visited Jul. 28, 2008).

[6]. Id.

[7]. Id. at 10.

[8]. Id. at 44.

[9]. Id. at 45

[10]. People's Republic of China the Olympics Countdown: Repression of Activists Overshadows Death Penalty and Media Reforms, Amnesty Int'l (ASA 17/015/2007), Apr. 2007, at 8 [hereinafter Repression], available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/015/2007/en/dom-ASA170152007en.pdf (last visited July 28, 2008).

[11]. Executed, supra note 5, at 2.

[12]. Calum MacLeod, China Makes Ultimate Punishment Mobile, USA Today, June 15, 2006, ¶ 3, available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-06-14-death-van_x.htm (last visited July 28, 2008).

[13]. Executed, supra note 5, at 2. 500, 000 Yuan equals $60,000 USD.

[14]. Stop Carers Killing, Amnesty Int'l (ACT 50/009/2007), Sept. 27, 2007, at 3 [hereinafter Carers], available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT50/009/2007/en/dom-ACT500092007en.pdf (last visited July 28, 2008).

[15]. Id.

[16]. Id.

[17]. Id.

[18]. MacLeod, supra note 12, ¶ 14.

[19]. Id. ¶¶ 14, 20.

 
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