China, in its never-ending quest to make totalitarianism absolute, efficient, and culturally creepy, has hit on a swell new idea: the SUV! In this case, "V" stands for "Violence" and also "Vivisection." Observe:
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 in which "Devil" Zhang took his final ride.
They've got nice lines, and are easily mass-produced to meet the needs of the People:
They're efficient! They promote federalism!
Makers of death vans say they save money for poor localities that would otherwise have to pay to construct execution facilities in prisons or court buildings. The vans ensure that prisoners sentenced to death can be executed locally, closer to communities where they broke the law.
Their ergonomic design spells comfort!
"I'm most proud of the bed. It's very humane, like an ambulance," Kang says. He points to the power-driven metal stretcher that glides out at an incline. "It's too brutal to haul a person aboard," he says. "This makes it convenient for the criminal and the guards."
It's possible that, at least with respect to the condemned criminals, the translator has missed some nuances of the term "convenient."
They promote green policies like recycling!
China's critics contend that the transition from firing squads to injections in death vans facilitates an illegal trade in prisoners' organs.
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."
This is really a great marketing opportunity. Just as certain Americans were thrilled to purchase ersatz Hummers and pretend they were in the Marines, surely many Chinese would love to purchase scaled-back death vans and pretend that they are on their way to execute their mother-in-law as they drive her to the grocery. It's win-win!
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