Print View 
China: School trips to watch death sentences
10/1/2004 10:35 AM

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

China: School trips to watch death sentences

AI Index: ASA 17/049/2004 (Public)

1 October 2004

In a bizarre holiday celebration several hundred schoolchildren were taken to watch six men being sentenced to death at a public sentencing rally, according to a Chinese internet report.

"The Chinese government regularly 'celebrates' national holidays by executing large numbers of criminals," said Ingrid Massage, Asia director at Amnesty International. "This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls in the same week as China's National Day on Friday 1 October and there has been a surge of executions."

The schoolchildren were part of an audience of 2,500 people. Held in a gymnasium in Changsha, capital of central Hunan province, the sentencing rally was timed to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival on 27 September. The six men were then taken to an execution ground and shot, according to the report on the 'Tom' web portal.

Pictured wearing their school uniforms, the children are described as elementary and middle school students, between the ages of six and seventeen. They heard the details of the convicts' crimes read out in public -- including murder, assault and kidnapping -- and then witnessed the criminals being sentenced to death.

Taking children out of school to attend sentencing rallies appears to contravene the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by China in 1992. This states that education should be directed at the "development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms".

The six men in Hunan are among at least 100 people executed in recent days in China.

Both in law and practice, China’s criminal justice system does not currently offer fair trials under international legal standards. This is particularly alarming in criminal cases where the death penalty is passed. Confessions may be extorted through torture, access to lawyers is limited and the appeal system is fractured and decentralised. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and is calling on China to halt all executions immediately with a view to abolishing the death penalty in law.

To see the 'Tom' report (in Chinese), go to: http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacHX6abasT4bdTh3Ob/

Further information on human rights in China: http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacHX6abasT5bdTh3Ob/

*****************************************************************

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the list subscription message may be removed.

*****************************************************************

Past and current Amnesty news services can be found at . Visit for information about Amnesty International and for other AI publications. Contact [email protected] if you need to get in touch with the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.

Privacy policy