Daily Mail: China’s hi-tech ‘death van’ where criminals are executed and then their organs are sold *

Daily Mail
By Andrew Malone
27.03.2009

Death will come soon for Jiang Yong. A corrupt local planning official with a taste for the high life, Yong solicited money from businessmen eager to expand in China’s economic boom.

the unmarried official took more than £1 million in bribes from entrepreneurs wanting permission to build skyscrapers

But Yong, a portly, bespectacled figure, was caught by the Chinese authorities during a purge on corrupt local officials last year.

He confessed and was sentenced to death. China executed 1,715 people last year, so one more death would hardly be remarkable.

But there will be nothing ordinary about Yong’s death by lethal injection. Unless he wins an appeal, he will draw his final breath strapped inside a vehicle that has been specially developed to make executions more cost-effective and efficient.

In chilling echoes of the ‘gas-wagon’ project pioneered by the Nazis to slaughter criminals, the mentally ill and Jews, this former member of the China People’s Party will be handcuffed to a so-called ‘humane’ bed and executed inside a gleaming new, hi-tech, mobile ‘death van.’

After trials of the mobile execution service were launched quietly three years ago - then hushed up to prevent an international row about the abuse of human rights before the Olympics last summer - these vehicles are now being deployed across China.

The number of executions is expected to rise to a staggering 10,000 people this year (not an impossible figure given that at least 68 crimes - including tax evasion and fraud - are punishable by death in China).

They cost £60,000, can reach top speeds of 80mph and look like a police vehicle on patrol. Inside, however, the ‘death vans’ look more like operating theatres.

Executions are monitored by video

the police, judiciary and doctors are all involved in making millions from China’s huge trade in human body parts.

Inside each ‘death van’ there is a dedicated team of doctors to ‘harvest’ the organs of the deceased. The injections leave the body intact and in pristine condition for such lucrative work.

After checking that the victim is dead, the medical team first remove the eyes. Then, wearing surgical gowns and masks, they remove the kidney, liver, pancreas and lungs.

Little goes to waste, though the heart cannot be used, having been poisoned by the drugs.

The organs are dispatched in ice boxes to hospitals in the sprawling cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which have developed another specialist trade: selling the harvested organs.

At clinics all over China, these organs are transplanted into the ailing bodies of the wealthy - and thousands more who come as ‘organ tourists’ from neighbouring countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

Chinese hospitals perform up to 20,000 organ transplants each year. A kidney transplant in China costs £5,000, but can rise to £30,000 if the patient is willing to pay more to obtain an organ quickly.

With more than 10,000 kidney transplants carried out each year, fewer than 300 come from voluntary donations. The British Transplantation Society and Amnesty International have condemned China for harvesting prisoners’ organs.

Laws introduced in 2006 make it an offence to remove the organs of people against their will, and banned those under 18 from selling their organs.

But, tellingly, the law does not cover prisoners.

‘Organs can be extracted in a speedier and more effective way using these vans than if the prisoner is shot,’ says Amnesty International.

‘We have gathered strong evidence suggesting the involvement of Chinese police, courts and hospitals in the organ trade.’

The bodies cannot be examined. Corpses are driven to a crematorium and burned before independent witnesses can view them.

A police official, who operates a ‘multi-functional and nationwide, first-class, fixed execution ground’ where prisoners are shot, confirmed to the Mail that it is always a race against time to save the organs of the executed - and that mobile death vans are better equipped for the job.

‘The liver loses its function only five minutes after the human cardiac arrest,’ the officer told our researcher.

‘The kidney will become dysfunctional 30 minutes after cardiac arrest. So the removal of organs must be completed at the execution ground within 15 minutes, then put in an ice box or preservation solution.’

The idea for such a ‘modern’ scheme is rooted in one of the darkest episodes in human history.

The Nazis used adapted vans as mobile gas chambers from 1940 until the end of World War II. In order to make the best use of time spent transporting criminals and Jewish prisoners, Hitler’s scientists developed the vehicles with a hermetically sealed cabin that was filled with carbon monoxide carried by a tube from the exhaust pipes.

The vans were first tested on child patients in a Polish psychiatric hospital in 1940. The Nazis then developed bigger models to carry up to 50 prisoners. They looked like furniture removal vans. Those to be killed were ordered to hand over their valuables, then stripped and locked inside.

As gas was pumped into the container and the van headed towards graves being dug by other prisoners, the muffled cries of those inside could be heard, along with banging on the side.

With the ‘cargo’ dead, all that remained was for gold fillings to be hacked from the victims’ mouths, before the bodies were tipped into the graves.

Now, six decades later, just like the Nazis, China insists these death vans are ‘progress’.

‘This deters others from committing crime and has more impact,’ said one official.

Indeed, a spokesman for the makers of the ‘death vans’ openly touted for trade this week, saying they are the perfect way to ‘efficiently and cleanly’ dispatch convicts with lethal injections. Reporting steady sales throughout China, a spokesman for Jinguan Auto - which is situated in a green valley an hour’s drive from Chongqing in south-western China - said the firm was bucking the economic trend and had sold ten more vans recently.

The exact number in operation is a state secret. But it is known that Yunnan province alone has 18 mobile units, while dozens of others are patrolling in five other sprawling provinces.

‘We have not sold our execution cars to foreign countries yet,’ beamed a proud spokesman. But if they need one, they could contact our company directly.’

Officials say the vehicles are a ‘civilised alternative’ to the traditional single shot to the head (used in 60 per cent of Chinese executions), ending the life of the condemned quickly, clinically and safely - proving that China ‘promotes human rights now,’ says Kang Zhongwen, designer of the ‘death van’.

For the Beijing regime, it is not a question of whether they should execute offenders, but how to do it most efficiently - and make the most money from it.

Related:

The existing EU member states have all signed up to Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights which outlaws the use of the death  penalty in all circumstances. The Lisbon Treaty makes the EU a state superior with legal personality and has the post-Lisbon EU signed up to Protocol 6 rather than Protocol 13. Protocol 6 allows the death penalty for acts committed (who decides what acts?) in time of war or threat of war. We are told we’ve been under the war of terrorism since 2001. When reading protocol 6 below ask your self what role is envisaged for a post-Lisbon EU and its collective forces in a time of war or imminent threat of war?

“b) Article 2 of the Protocol No 6 to the ECHR: A State may make provision in its law for the death penalty in respect of acts committed in time of war or of imminent threat of war; such a penalty shall be applied only in the instances laid down in the law and in accordance with its provisions…”  - www.eucharter.org/home.php?page_id=9 (EUcharter.org is funded by the European Commission)

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