Thirty-Year-Old Execution Photos

(Xinhua)  Why Are The Thirty-Year-Old Execution Photos Of A Corrupt Female Government Official So Popular On The Internet?  By Qin Henhai.

On April 23, 1979, the People's Daily had an exclusive news report: In Heilongjiang province, the largest corrupt gang was busted.  The criminal Wang Shouxin and others were arrested and investigated for the crimes of sharing illegal profits and then hiding and covering up the loot.

On February 28, 1980, this principal criminal of this internationally known crime -- Heilongjiang Province Bingyuan County Combustible Fuel manager and party secretary Wang Shouxin -- faced the legal consequences.  You can call her a "corrupt official" but she is a merely a manager of a combustible fuel company.  Nobody knows what the rank might be in the hierarchy of officialdom but it is probably the lowest possible.

A few years ago, the process of her execution was published by the photographer at the scene and then broadly circulated on the Internet.  Recently, someone posted these photos on  Within a few days (ending 4pm on May 3), those photos had been seen by 1.132 million persons.  The popularity was astonishing.

Ordinarily speaking, when a life is terminated, one should be studying the pathos of the death, no matter how much this person deserves to die.  But why are so many people looking at these photos in so many different ways (calmly, emotionally, carefully or thoughtfully)?  Some people even long for this scene to occur today.  Now that is truly thought-provoking.

Today as it was thirty years ago, everybody hates those people who loot state resources through bribery and corruption.  Therefore, when people see photos of a corrupt government official being executed, they are pleased.  However, there are some differences in feelings between today and thirty years ago.

Thirty years ago, a case involving several hundred thousand RMB results in the death penalty.  Today a case involving hundreds of millions only results in a suspended death penalty.  In Heilongjiang province, the later and greatest corrupt female government official Han Jiazhi was given a suspended death penalty for seven million RMB in ill-gotten gains.  The former Heilongjiang governor and later State Land Resources Department director Tian Fengshan was given a life sentence for corruption involving 4.98 million RMB.  If Wang Shouxin was executed in her time, why should Han Jiazhi and Tian Fengshan be allowed to live?

... Thirty years ago, there would a public meeting after which the convict is taken out to the execution field and shot.  Today, many localities use lethal injections for execution and also give certain rights to those who were given life sentences and deprived of their political rights.

Therefore, fewer and fewer death penalties are carried out.  The number of public executions has also decreased.  Correspondingly, the deterrent effect against corrupt officials has weakened.  This is why people become nostalgic for the photos of the execution of government officials several decades ago.  Apart from this current series of photos, another series entitled <Mao Zedong personally signed the approval to execute seven criminals> has also been popular on the Internet recently.

It is hard to explain all the reasons but one thing is quite obvious: if we can be more decisive, powerful and open in punishing government corrupt officials, people would be less concerned about events that occurred several decades ago.