A video that purports to show a public execution in a Chinese village has surfaced on the internet.
The disturbing footage has attracted a huge amount of attention after it was uploaded to the Chinese web portal Sina on Monday night, but it appears to be the same footage that was posted online in November 2012.
It seems to show a man with a sign around his neck being taken out into a field and shot once in the head possibly by a police officer while villagers look on from a hillside. A photographer is seen taking before-and-after pictures of the event, which was preceded by a convoy of police cars heading out into the field. See embed above.
The Wall Street Journal attempted to pinpoint the location of the alleged public execution. “Onlookers, described in the video’s title as local villagers, speak a dialect found in the region of southwestern China’s Guizhou province.” The Journal adds that “Chinese people largely support the death penalty — a Sina survey cited by state-run media put the number at 75% in 2010 — though a number of wrongful convictions and other controversies have swelled the ranks of those who want to see it abolished or severely curtailed.”
Of the many comments posted at the Sina website about this video, “Most of the criticism, however, focused not on the morality of the purported execution, but instead on the manner in which it was carried out — and on the reactions of the onlookers, many of whom can be heard talking casually and laughing before and after the shooting.”
The Chinese human rights organization Dui Hua estimates that there were 4,000 executions in China in 2011 (and perhaps 3,000 last year) although the actual number of those individuals put to death is considered a state secret. The number of executions in China has dropped considerably in recent years owing to certain legal reforms that have been implemented. Evidently public executions are now illegal in China, which to some degree may or may not call the validity of this video into question.