China unleashed the death van, a mobile execution vehicle. This story is from 2006, but is still filled with Gothic goodness.
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.
Also called "execution vans." There's a secret media angle:
Executions in death vans are recorded on video and audio that is played live to local law enforcement authorities — a measure intended to ensure they are carried out legally.
And the classic organlegging bit:
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."
The class aspect, or urban vs rural divide:
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...
"Some places can't afford the cost of sending a person to Beijing — perhaps $250 — plus $125 more for the drug," says Qiu Xingsheng, a former judge working as a lawyer in Chongqing. Death-by-gunshot requires "very little expense," he says.
And a grim reminder of how scary gunshot executions can be:
Qiu has attended executions by firing squad where the kneeling prisoner is shot in the back of the head. The guards "ask the prisoner to open his mouth, so the bullet can pass out of the mouth and leave the face intact," he says.
I imagine the roles these vans can play in children's folklore. Watch out, or the Death Van will get you! Is that an ordinary van, or a death wagon?
(thanks to Steven Kaye for close reading)