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Naw Kham’s final hours on national TV upsets Chinese viewers

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Each year, more than 4,000 people are executed in China.

Naw Kham of Myanmar, a drug lord who was sentenced to death last November in connection with the killing of 13 Chinese fishermen on the Mekong River, was put on down on Friday. But what most TV viewers found unsettling was the two-hour live coverage the event got on Chinese national television. Three other men, two from Laos and one from Thailand, were also executed.

The LA Times reports:

The live coverage showed the men being taken from their prison cells in southwestern Yunnan Province with their hands trussed behind their backs with ropes. A doctor in a white coat prepared the lethal injections.

China’s national television followed Kham and his three accomplices all the way into the room where the execution took place. The coverage of Kahm and his accomplices’ final hours upset viewers and psychologists complained that the event also caused distress to children. They said the program also violated a code that forbids showing on national TV a man before he’s executed.

“I don’t know of any other country, not Iran, Afghanistan or North Korea, that has nationally broadcast in this way the last moments of an executed prisoner,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. “It is a step backward at a time we thought China was making progress with the death penalty.”

However, many viewers were satisfied with the broadcast and the death sentence. Kham, 44, and his gang were found guilty of shooting to death 13 Chinese fishermen who had been ambushed on the Mekong River last November. Kham, a Burmese national, was the leader of a militia that ran its illegal operations in an area called the Golden Triangle.

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