CHINA'S KILLING FIELD.
IN 1994, China hired me to serve as their first foreign COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST. Not only did I teach classes in Broadcasting, Interview Techniques, and on-air News Anchoring, but I also hosted, produced, and directed two weekly television shows on CCTV, China’s Television Network. One of the Communist Leaders requested that I accompany him to a morning Execution, believing it could be a successful “reality” series. I watched as that day’s roster of prisoners were executed before stating my opinion. I felt that the “sensationalism” of DEATH would only garner an audience for a few weeks before “boredom” would set-in. I cautioned the “Leaders” that--to go “public” with the executions-- would turn them into everyday occurrences and quickly “dilute” their effectiveness.
THE HOME OF CHINA’S EXECUTIONS. The sign outside reads: Beijing Supreme People's Court Project 86. The innocuous name masks the address’s real purpose. Behind the brick-and-barbed-wire walls lies the execution ground for those condemned to die in Beijing.
Prisoners, surrounded by a profusion of uniformed guards, are driven--- standing in the back of military trucks---to this isolated compound on a vine-covered hill overlooking Beijing, China’s Capital. Without fanfare or ceremony, Military Soldiers tie prisoners’ arms behind their backs...then shackle their legs... before ordering them to kneel on the hard- black earth. Soon, a uniformed soldier blows a shrill whistle to begin the process and immediately--one after the other-- a paramilitary soldier steps forward to fire a single rifle shot into the back of the head--- of the prisoner kneeling before him. One by one, each prisoner topples into the dirt, instantly dead. And the steady, almost syncronized performance, continues-- until not-even-one prisoner is left alive.
Sometimes, the corpses are placed in a waiting ambulance to be whisked to a hospital where vital organs are removed for transplant. In most cases, the organs are removed without the prior consent of the prisoner. Traditionally, the prisoner's family is billed for the deadly bullet -- the equivalent of about 6 cents. It’s not about money…it’s about following directions. If the family doesn’t pay, they won’t receive the prisoner’s ashes.
Known as the world's most populous country--- China averages nearly four thousand executions yearly. Although China keeps executions secret, human rights groups from around the world argue that the true figure is much-higher.
China's increasing reliance on executions reflects the turmoil in society today. Amid China's economic success, corruption is now at an all-time high. Even though the crime rate is far below that of the United States, it has been steadily- growing at an alarming rate. For the first time in years, Police have regular foot patrols in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
So, Chinese authorities have turned to capital punishment-- for those political and economic crimes that do not involve violence. In other countries, similar crimes would be punished with fines or imprisonment but China doesn’t believe in long-term tolerance.