Sunday, July 20, 2008
JULY 21st UPDATE:
Joseph Wang has a clarification that is too important to be left buried in the Comments section:
The Washington Post is very confused about what happened. Here is the original story from Radio Free Asia.
As far as I can tell the sentencing was public but the execution was not, which is in accordance with Article 212 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
The July 19th issue of the Washington Post carries a story that leads with three executions in Yengishahar, Xinjiang Province. I won't comment on the political issues involved, except to note that the executions occur in the context of an overall pre-Olympic security crackdown that has resulted in detentions, house arrests, and internal deportations - very often without any legal basis that I know of - for those considered "elements of instability" (不安定因素) such as activist lawyers and petitioners.
The interesting legal aspect of these executions is that they are reported to have been carried out in front of an audience of thousands. It is impossible to believe that the authorities in charge were not aware of Article 212 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which states clearly that executions shall not be carried out in public (the Chinese term, 示众, is more like "displayed to the masses"). One also doubts that the condemned were offered the chance for some last words, as is also required by Article 212. Thus, one can only conclude that when the law prohibited the authorities from doing what they wished to do, they simply didn't give a damn.
Here's the text of Art. 212: