Monday, July 21, 2008
Because public executions so clearly violate Art. 212 of the Criminal Procedure Law, many people have questioned the facts as reported in the Washington Post story of July 19th (blogged about earlier here and here). This is understandable. At this point, however, on the basis of various things I've seen, my judgment is that the story is more likely accurate than not, and that an execution that was in substance public did indeed take place. Reports of this kind of thing in the post-Mao era are, I think, relatively rare - certainly I don't recall seeing any before. (This is different from saying their occurrence is rare.) But a colleague has sent me a link to a Chinese news report from 2006 that describes a public execution:
"9点50分，石悦军被押着从宣判现场出发前往执行现场，在执行死刑的现场的警戒线两旁，百姓把周围的可以观看的位置都站满了。" (At 9:50, Shi Yuejun was taken from the site where the sentence was pronounced [DC: probably some kind of sentencing rally] to the execution ground. Outside the police line at the execution ground, the common people (baixing) occupied every place available for watching [the execution].)
If this isn't "示众" ("displaying to the public", as prohibited by Art. 212), I don't know what is.