Death Penalty

Interviews with Soon to Be Executed Prisoners Are a Big Hit on Chinese TV

A television show that broadcasts interviews with inmates taped days or even minutes before their executions has turned into a big hit in China.

The prime time show, Interviews Before Executions, is intended to warn citizens of the consequences of crime, the Daily Mail reports. Scenes from the show, which has a five-year run so far, will be broadcast in Britain in a BBC2 documentary.

The show has brought fame for the interviewer who developed the idea, Ding Yu. The Daily Mail says she is “every inch the modern television presenter” in her “silk scarves and immaculate make-up.”

Ding has covered more than 250 cases. She says she feels sorry for the inmates during the interviews. “But I don’t sympathize with them, for they should pay a heavy price for their wrongdoing,” she says, according to the Daily Mail account. “They deserve it.”

China does not reveal how many prisoners it executes, but the number is believed to be about 2,000 a year, the story says. Fifty-five crimes, including theft, qualify for death sentences, but the show focuses only on murder cases.

Rather than asking questions, Ding sometimes makes statements; in one interview she says, “I still don’t see sufficient reason to burn your husband alive.” Still, Ding admits that the inmates haunt her.

One time she awoke while riding a train at night, and saw a vision of the executed prisoners, the Daily Mail says. “Their faces were so real and all of them were standing there looking at me,” she said. “I was horrified—I have heard so many cases. It is really not good for me at all. I have too much rubbish in my heart.”

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