School children were among a crowd of hundreds who watched the execution of two drug dealers. The criminals were sentenced to death and immediately marched to a firing squad as part of a government crackdown. The move was designed to act as a deterrent to the children, who had been organised to watch the sentencing rally.
Around 300 residents of Haikou, in southern China’s Hainan Province, were also in attendance at the event, which was filmed and posted online. It formed part of the government’s campaign known as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on 26th June each year. The first criminal, 39-year-old Cai Liqun, was found guilty of selling methamphetamine and magu. The latter is a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, and is a relatively new type of drug in China.
Cai bought the drugs by post before selling them on multiple occasions between September and November in 2015, said Haikou Intermediate People’s Court. The other criminal, 36-year-old Huang Zhengye, was found guilty of transporting and selling methamphetamine. He was caught in possession of 4,749.8 grams (10.47 pounds) of methamphetamine and 71,100 yuan (£8,143) in relation to drug dealing in September 2015.
Their sentences were announced in the sports ground in Haikou by a female judge. ‘’Now I announce, take Cai Liqun and Huang Zhenye to the execution ground and carry out the execution by shooting,’ she said. A total of eight people were sentenced to death that day on the grounds.
In China it is fairly common for executions to be public events that can attract thousands of people. Spectators at yesterday’s event appeared to support public death sentencing. Pan Hui, a teacher from the local Yunlong Middle School, told China News that such events could help ‘educate’ and ‘frighten’ the students, and they could also make the students fearful of committing crimes.
Our school has been carrying out anti-drug educational campaigns constantly to keep the students away from drugs,’ said teacher Pan. However, concerns have been expressed in the past towards China’s public death sentencing. Commenting on a different rally in Shanwei city in last June, William Nee at the Amnesty International said the event was ‘tragic’ and ‘barbaric’.