For many years, it has been known that China uses execution vans, kind of like specially outfitted ambulances, to more efficiently carry out its exceedingly large number of executions. The method of killing in these vans is lethal injection, which has been slowly but surely replacing the firing squad as China’s preferred means of execution, and both lethal injection and the vans are believed to facilitate the widespread practice of harvesting organs of the executed prisoners, an unbelievably appalling practice.
In October 2006, Sky News did a compelling video report - China’s Execution Buses – on the death penalty in China, including a discussion of the vans and organ harvesting, as well as cases of innocence, and the plight of death penalty defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng who has been harassed and detained since at least 2006, and who was once again detained on February 4 of this year.
In the months leading up to the Olympics, there were a number of hints and statements that reforms in China’s death penalty were being seriously considered, including a declaration from the Chinese Medical Association “not to transplant organs from prisoners or others in custody, except into members of their immediate families.” This statement was noted in an Amnesty International report two weeks prior to the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies, but the report went on to caution that “… Ministry of Health officials have reportedly stated that prisoners will remain a source of organs for five more years as execution-related transplantation winds down.”
Of course, the Olympics are over now, and the execution vans are apparently still providing “slow but steady business” for Jinguan Auto.