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If you're a criminal in China, you'll want to avoid its new death buses, vehicles that carry out executions while streaming live video of them, then provide some privacy for organ harvesting.
The buses, of which over 40 are currently in use, are replacing firing squads as China's preferred method of execution. The buses provide a setup for lethal injections, and the acts are carried out on streaming video so local authorities can observe and ensure that everything is done legally.
Critics say that the buses help the government secretly harvest organs to sell to the west, as there's already a doctor on hand to administer the injection and they never show the bodies between execution and cremation.
Injections leave the whole body intact and require participation of doctors. Organs can "be extracted in a speedier and more effective way than if the prisoner is shot," says Mark Allison, East Asia researcher at Amnesty International in Hong Kong. "We have gathered strong evidence suggesting the involvement of (Chinese) police, courts and hospitals in the organ trade."
Executions in death vans are recorded on video and audio that is played live to local law enforcement authorities — a measure intended to ensure they are carried out legally.
China's refusal to give outsiders access to the bodies of executed prisoners has added to suspicions about what happens afterward: Corpses are typically driven to a crematorium and burned before relatives or independent witnesses can view them.
The country that executed more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined last year is slowly phasing out public executions by firing squad in favor of lethal injections. Unlike the United States and Singapore, the only two other countries where death is administered by injection, China metes out capital punishment from specially equipped "death vans" that shuttle from town to town.
Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China "promotes human rights now," says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van.....