The picture appears to show the police leading away a suspect. It could be that nothing is further from the truth. If you are convicted of one of the many offences that carries the death penalty in China then expect no mercy.
Welcome to the high tech ‘death van’. The number of executions is expected to rise to a staggering 10,000 people this year (not an impossible figure given that at least 68 crimes – including tax evasion and fraud – are punishable by death in China).
Developed by Jinguan Auto, which also makes bullet-proof limousines for the new rich in this vast country of 1.3 billion people, the vans appear unremarkable.
They cost £60,000, can reach top speeds of 80mph and look like a police vehicle on patrol. Inside, however, the ‘death vans’ look more like operating theatres.
Executions are monitored by video to ensure they comply with strict rules, making it possible to describe precisely how Jiang Yong will die. After being sedated at the local prison, he will be loaded into the van and strapped to an electric-powered stretcher.
This then glides automatically towards the centre of the van, where doctors will administer three drugs: sodium thiopental to cause unconsciousness; pancuronium bromide to stop breathing and, finally, potassium chloride to stop the heart.
Death is reputed to be quick and painless – not that there is anyone to testify to this. The idea for such a ‘modern’ scheme is rooted in one of the darkest episodes in human history.
There is a simple message. Don’t commit serious crime in China.
I don’t know how this was kept quiet in the run up to the Olympic games last year.
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