"I lived in China for a couple extended periods of time, and the subject of executions, being near and dear to my cold, right-wing heart, was of particular interest to me because the local execution grounds were right next to the facility I was building.
Every time they had a truckload of prisoners slated for the golden headache pill, the festivities began. A large contingent of green-clad motorcycle outriders, jeeps with more uniformed monkeys, then a truckload of soldiers in the bed, a truck with the lucky contestants, another truck of soldiers, more jeeps and then more cycles, makes a complete pass through town. Every damn one of them with sirens a-screamin' and lights a-flashin'. The procession travels at about 5 mph through town, stopping at every major intersection for 3-5 minutes so that the local citizenry can gawk at their unfortunate brethren who got caught, then continues on to the next intersection.
I gotta add here that the prisoners were all standing up in the bed of the trucks, hands tied behind their backs (couldn't tell if it was cheap Chinese rope or the nicer plastic cuffs the yoo-ess oinkers use, but certainly not handcuffs), facing outward, a scarf tied over their foreheads (never found out the significance of the scarf), and a chalkboard sign hung around their necks with the tale of their exploits written on it. Being gwaylo (that's Chinese for honkey muthafuckah), I couldn't read the chicken-scratchings on the boards, but my assistant would fill me in on what she read after the trucks left.
Our facility was at the last intersection of the usual procession route, so we had a rather unique experience in that we knew, with dead (heh, heh) certainty, every single person we were looking at in the bed of that truck was going to die in a very few minutes. They knew it too. Most `em would have a glassy stare, like they were lookin' right through ya as they shat their jammies, but others had the trapped rat look, eyes darting from side to side, looking, searching, hoping for something, anything, to happen that would/could/might stave off the inevitable. Never happened.
The parade would lurch off after a few minutes and make the turn into the last unpaved road before the river into a copse of woods on the other side of our building site. From the roof of our facility, we could see partially over some of the trees and made out that there was a clearing, probably about 1/2 an acre of ground, and the stack of the crematory just peeking out over the branches. If we timed it correctly, about 25-30 minutes after seeing the trucks stopped out front, we could be on the roof, hiding behind the air-handlers and hear the shots, faint as they were (I think they actually use a .22 for the deed, not the cheesy .32's they wore on their uniforms).
Now, being that we came from a country where executions aren't carried out in such a public fashion, and certainly not with the frequency that we witnessed in China, we rode our interpreters and assistants pretty hard to glean all the gory details. It turns out that the criminal justice system is pretty swift over there (gee, no shit). Trials are held very quickly, and sentencing happens right then and there at the end of the trial if found guilty (about 75% are found guilty, so we were told). There is a review period of several days immediately after the guilty verdict where any appeals may be lodged, but typically the review is a rubber-stamp thing. The prisoners are then housed until a suitable number (a truckload?) can be assembled for the trip out to the edge of town. Makes no difference which gender you happen to be - if found guilty of a capitol crime (prostitution counts here, folks, I shit you not), it's off to the trees with ya. And, NO, the family does NOT pay for the bullet or the cost of the trial. All costs are born by Grandpa (the Chinese equivalent of our Uncle Sam) in the Land of the Iron Ricebowl.
After the prisoners are hauled off the trucks and made to kneel, the officer in charge walks behind them and pops them in the back of the head as he goes down the row. One of the interpreters told us that he understood that each lucky contestant got two slugs apiece, but we couldn't get anybody to confirm this. The families of the condemned are allowed to come and pick up the bodies of papa, sister or brother after the deed, but because of the loss of face associated with having brother Chan or sister Wo executed for slipping a little cash from the till or giving blowjobs to gwaylos, usually opt not to. If a body is not picked up by dusk, they fire up the ovens and do the crispy critter thing with the ashes used for fertilizer.
There ya have it folks. Ain't cultural diversity grand?" --Loflyer
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