Why couldn't we get this penalty for the Key Lay?
August 13, 2005 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Death for embezzling? The former chief of the state run Bank of China, Liu Jinbao, was given a suspended death sentence for embezzling 7.72M yuan (approximately 1M USD). His assets have been seized, and it is expected that his sentence will be commuted to life in prison. As China actively seeks to lure foreign investments, including banks, this is meant to send a strong signal about corruption in the financial sector.
posted by SirOmega (18 comments total)
Ah, that the US had had this sort of law before the Worldcom and Enron scandals emerged...
posted by clevershark at 4:25 PM on August 13, 2005

They should have turned him over to Walmart security guards.
posted by LarryC at 4:41 PM on August 13, 2005

So China was bamboozled by an embezzling investor?
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:03 PM on August 13, 2005

Any death is still permanent, but this makes Western judicial systems look enlightened by comparison. From Amnesty International UK:

...a senior Chinese legislator suggested that China executes 10,000 people a year — more than the number of judicial executions recorded for the rest of the world combined.

Capital offences include crimes such as tax fraud, producing counterfeit currency, taking bribes and 'killing a panda.' Mobile execution chambers (converted buses) are being extensively used throughout China in which prisoners can be executed immediately after a sentence is passed.

Bullets and lethal injections are used to carry out the punishment:

China currently uses two methods of execution. The most common is execution by firearms, which uses an assault rifle to fire a single shot of a hollow point bullet designed to expand upon impact, resulting in the disintegration of the upper portion of the brain. The other method, lethal injection was introduced in 1997. It differs from the application in the U.S. in that it is being carried out in fixed locations as well as in specially modified mobile vans.

Modern variations on an old theme?
posted by cenoxo at 5:57 PM on August 13, 2005

In Asia generally the issue of an individual's civil rights -- extending, evidently, to the right to be alive -- appears to be seen as "quaint".
posted by clevershark at 6:03 PM on August 13, 2005

I think the idea of "mobile execution chambers" deserves its own front page post.
posted by vacapinta at 6:10 PM on August 13, 2005

Barbarians. And get this--if your plane lands in China en route to another destination, they can lock you up indefinitely without charges, access to a lawyer, food, or sleep--and you have only limited protection against gross physical violence. If they torture you, you can't sue. Oh, wait--that's the United States.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:24 PM on August 13, 2005

...the idea of "mobile execution chambers" deserves its own front page post.

Sadly, that might be lengthy, but here's a few more links to details. For one thing, Chinese execution vans are cheaper:

Although the vans cost about 500,000 yuan ($A100,000) each, officials say the method is cheaper and requires less manpower than traditional executions, because land for traditional execution grounds is not cheap. But the main impetus was a law passed in 1995, making lethal injection an alternative to the bullet.

They're faster:

China's legal system allows only one appeal and lawyers say that less than 20 per cent of defendants have professional legal representation. When appeals against the death penalty are rejected, the sentence is carried out immediately, sometimes within hours.

They require fewer staff:

"With lethal injection, only four people are required to execute the death penalty: one executioner, and one forensic doctor one member of the court, and one other official. A dozen guards are also required to keep watch around the van".

And they offer a better user experience:

In Yunnan, as well as in the cities of Harbin and Shanghai, death on the road has replaced death row. The execution vans are converted 24-seater buses. The windowless execution chamber at the back contains a metal bed on which the prisoner is strapped down. A police officer presses a button and an automatic syringe plunges a lethal drug into the prisoner's vein. The execution can be watched on a video monitor next to the driver's seat and be recorded if required. Court officials say the lethal drug was devised by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to meet two criteria: that it causes no sharp pain or emotional upset for the prisoner and that it works within 30 to 60 seconds.

The only question I have (blackened tongue in cheek) is, "How can we not afford to start outsourcing executions?"
posted by cenoxo at 6:53 PM on August 13, 2005

Considering most of the world's developed countries with significant investments to make have abolished the death penalty, this could hurt China's image more than anything. Off the top of my head, the only major financial powers that still accept execution are Japan and the US.
posted by Saydur at 6:55 PM on August 13, 2005

Justice is swifter than I thought:

“After judgment is pronounced the criminal will be taken somewhere near the court, normally within 10 minutes’ drive,” said the policeman. “He will then be transferred to the lethal injection van. It’s all over very quickly.”

A rare newspaper account of an execution on January 19 in Liaoyang, the provincial capital, says the convicted man, Li Jiao, was dead within 14 minutes of sentence being pronounced.

posted by cenoxo at 7:43 PM on August 13, 2005

Hey, you can't say this stuff. The Chinese are our friends, my President tells me this all the time. Hell, we import 88 billion dollars of goods from China and they account for a full ten percent of our total foreign trade. Don't be sayin' bad stuff about the Chinese unless your ready to start making those cool shoes and DVD players in your garage. Oh yeah, fry me up some shrimp toast while your in there.

Now if they were predominantly Muslim, or even brown, I could see kicking some serious Chinese butt. But they aren't, so don't be messing with the Chinese unless you want to open up billion strong can of nuclear tipped whoop-ass. They WILL fuck our shit up and we know it.

So, my friend, don't be talking trash about the Chinese unless your going to get your ass over here, build me some cheap electronics and start digging my kids a fallout shelter.
posted by cedar at 8:36 PM on August 13, 2005

Saydur: Considering most of the world's developed countries with significant investments to make have abolished the death penalty, this could hurt China's image more than anything.

You're kidding, right?
A few human rights violations have never stood and will never stand in the way of doing business with China.
Now, when they try to buy up US companies, that's when Americans and Congress get all huffed up and antsy (see IBM and Unocal). Also, it isn't exactly news that the Chinese have an underdeveloped justice system, where Western notions of due process etc. are practically unknown.

Anyhow, the Chinese have a saying "Kill the rooster to frighten the monkey" which seems to be what is going on here. In other words, not everyone is equal before the law and it is OK to set a few harsh examples in order to scare the rest.
posted by sour cream at 11:25 PM on August 13, 2005

Anyone have a good sense of the crime rate in China compared to Western countries?
posted by showmethecalvino at 1:02 AM on August 14, 2005

People keep trying to pretend that China is not just another 3rd world Basket case. I wish them and their investments luck.
posted by Rubbstone at 2:49 AM on August 14, 2005

Saydur, it appears that in some time the same Western countries which abolished the death sentence might, if they ever want to see a dollar of investment from China, reintroduce it to appease our new overlo.... oh, nevermind : )
posted by Laotic at 9:37 AM on August 14, 2005

Now normally I am absolutely opposed to capital punishment, but when you are talking about killing a panda bear, well...
posted by dopeypanda at 11:05 PM on August 14, 2005

I'm just curious if anyone who has commented here so far has ever actually been to China...
For a country of one point God knows how many billion people, with a much lower standard of living and average salary per person than we have in Western countries, I actually think that the Chinese are doing quite well. The country has a lot of problems, chief among them pollution and human rights abuses, but having lived there for over two years, I am constantly amazed at how stable the country is, and how safe I generally feel on the streets. Compared to other developing nations, including Russia, India, anywhere in Africa, most of South and Central America, there is a remarkable lack of violence and feeling of law and order there.
Like most situations, there is a trade off. Increased governmental control leads to a greater potential for abuse of power and corruption. But the government actually does respond to abuse of power, as the execution of many embezzling officials has shown. Personally, I don't shed any tears for those who steal millions of dollars from the working poor.
While acknowledging the serious problems of human rights abuses in China, I challenge any of you to imagine a very likely alternative of the relaxation of discipline that would come with the Chinese government implementing lighter punishments, allowing more expensive and lengthy appeals (given its limited resources) and requiring more certainty in its criminal justice system. The loss of order in Chinese history has resulted in catastrophes that we in the West can scarcely imagine -- the Taiping rebellion comes to mind -- at least 20 million dead (maybe twice that). They are simply being practical and utilitarian.
posted by banishedimmortal at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2005

"Personally, I don't shed any tears for those who steal millions of dollars from the working poor. "
- bada bing!

Makes more sense to me than penalties for penny-ante crimes. It's the white collars that do the most damage.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2005

« Older The Shark Jumps The Shark?   |   So that's how they make American sausage Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments