$37,500 to $75,000, depending on vehicle’s size

China Makes Ultimate Punishment Mobile

The country that executed more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined last year is slowly phasing out public executions by firing squad in favor of lethal injections. 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.

Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights now,” says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van in which “Devil” Zhang took his final ride.

Sixty-eight different crimes – more than half non-violent offenses such as tax evasion and drug smuggling – are punishable by death in China. That means the death vans are likely to keep rolling.

“If we abolish the death penalty, then crime will grow,” Kang says.

Imagine the death penalty for tax evasion here in this country. They couldn’t keep up with the demand for those buses.


Someone there must have seen one of my favorite films from 1970, The Traveling Executioner staring Stacey Keach.



  1. Peter Rodwell says:

    Just as well that Stacey Keach was convicted for drug possession in Britain – in China he’d have earned a ride on the death bus!

  2. moss says:

    Wrong.

    But, then, why let facts get in the way of politics. The Chinese shoot drug dealers not users. So would a lot of folks.

  3. todd anderson, iii says:

    don’t they have those in texas?

  4. Peter Rodwell says:

    Yes, I was wrong – Stacey Keach was convicted of drug smuggling, not possession.

  5. And it is not as though we can take comfort in the fairness of China’s criminal justice system either.

  6. god says:

    “a boutique law firm” — now isn’t that special?

  7. RTaylor says:

    I always understood the condemned was led into a room with a floor drain and received a single shot in the back of the head. Is it really more humane to haul a prisoner in a bus, strap them down and stick needles in them? Most forms of execution are pretty fast, when they work right. It’s the waiting that’s Hell. Finding a gentler method is more for the general public than the condemned. A rusted and unsharpened guillotine has been known to take 3 or 4 drops to severe the head.

  8. Uncle Dave says:

    7: That was how the Russians did it. In secret where the condemned never knew the day or time. The Chinese did it in public so everyone could see and it could act as a deterent.

  9. Gary Marks says:

    When this death van rolls down the highway, other drivers are always quick to yield the right-of-way.

    And “Mr. Death” never gets the finger.

  10. William Simpson says:

    Imagine if the US still had public executions – that would be a pretty strong deterrent to most people. Otherwise, the death mobile is just morbid and more than a little sick.

  11. Citizen Grim says:

    Huh? “still”?

    I totally went to see a public hanging last Saturday in front of city hall. The mayor gave a short speech about justice and social structure. We even sang “Auld Lang Syne” and everything. Some enterprising businessman was selling hot dogs and BBQ wings, as the kids played frisbee across the street.

    Ah, summertime!

  12. Jordan says:

    If I was being put to death, I’d personally prefer a gunshot to the head. It doesn’t get much less painless than that (aside from heavy ordnance to the head.)

  13. The Machine says:

    Yes, but the van and the drugs make for much easier organ harvesting.

  14. Extraneus says:

    My only issue with the post is this:

    Imagine the death penalty for tax evasion here in this country. They couldn’t keep up with the demand for those buses.

    Quite the contrary, I would think. There hasn’t been a drunk driving event in Singapore in probably 50 years. No idea when the last murder was, but it’s been quite a while. One bank robbery in 10 years, and the culprit writes articles about how sorry he is and how he hopes his kids don’t turn out like him. We already know about the canings, which are serious. But people can put their 10-year-old kids in a cab and send them to movies there. 15-year-olds can be let out to hang out at night without the slightest worry about drugs, etc.

    The harshness of their punishments has virtually eradicated crime there. Nobody would have the guts for tax evasion.

  15. GregAllen says:

    I seem to remember that China had a policy of sending a bill to the surviving family for the cost of the bullets used to execute their loved ones.

    I wonder if they’ll pay for this bus that way?

  16. Johnny-Cakes says:

    Extraneus – hard to prove cause and effect there though, as a lot of that has to do with the culture and society. They have stiff penalties in Texas and they execute people there every year for murder…yet murders still happen in Texas every year. Same with Florida. Oh, and some info: Average of murder rates among death penalty states in 2004: 5.1 Average of murder rates among non-death penalty states in 2004: 2.9 but even these have many factors worked into them.

    I’m just saying, you have to take many many factors into account. Singapore hasn’t had a drunk driving event in a long time…but also look at the excellent public transportation they have, that may have something to do with it along with the cultural aspects of public drunkenness.

  17. Neal Saferstein says:

    Only in China!

    Neal Saferstein

  18. V says:

    “‘The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights now.'” Right.

  19. Purple Avenger says:

    They just want to be able to scoot away from protesters. That’s the problem with fixed base execution facility — the protesters know where it is and that’s where they’ll congregate.

  20. Max Bell says:

    Yeah. I remembering hearing about Singapore and thinking it sounded awfully dull.

    I noticed this story the other day, though, and took note because China has started making them, themselves. A year or so ago, they ordered something like 20 from Toyota.

    I agree with the whole thing about the bullet, though. Can’t say I’d want to be on the phone to my wife, but after that, put a bottle of Chivas in my hand and stand around with the rest of the fam and get hammered.

    No cannon. Just dump me in the Sound so I can be with my grandparents and hedgehog.

  21. MagAmps says:

    To Todd Anderson of IL.
    Why no Todd…we don’t have those down here in Texas….but I wish we did. The Express Lane to the Execution Chamber. That way, my tax dollars aren’t paying to feed, house and clothe some miscreant in more comfort that the folks below the poverty level for decades on end while left wing whiners complain about how the reason that he killed that family of 5 with an ax was because he was a bedwetter who was yelled at by his mommy and daddy.

  22. Dan says:

    Back when they used bullets, the family of the ‘accused’ would be charged the cost of a bullet.

    I wonder if now, they’ll be charged for the fuel the truck uses to go get the vict… umm, accused?

    Why does this whole idea sound like something the Dead Kennedys would have sung about?

  23. Some of you folks should get out of the house and actually go to Singapore. It’s vacationer friendly. The food is great. They speak English. It’s pretty. It’s clean. You’ll have a good time. And you’ll be glad when you leave. To keep from having the heebie-jeebies 24/7 the locals take the subway train to Malaysia where they know how to party.

  24. DirtCrashr says:

    It’s a van, so how many can they fit in there?
    Sounds a bit like they took an efficiency page from the Nazis and their gas-vans…

  25. Chinese says:

    I am chinese ,I lived in my country 20 years, I think you have not come to China,but you say you compare me also to understand China.Don’t you think you are very laughably ?
    Don’t slander my country

  26. Alan says:

    I guess you would have to wonder
    Big Big Buck’s with organ donation…
    Being shot in the head possiblily reduces the
    sale of eyes ! Lethal Injection I guess would damage
    some organs ?
    I wonder inside the very private Bus ..
    is it more like ….They put them under
    then operate removal of organs….
    Then Donor Die’s ????

    It would have to make you wonder

  27. scott says:

    Imagine being publicly executed or stripped & caned for a crime one was wrongly covicted for.Being tough on crime doesnt mean receding to the middle ages.

  28. Montana says:

    String um high!!! Its cost effective and little or no preparations, just an old oak tree and a cheap piece of rope and you got vigilante justice.

  29. Rosko says:

    If we had the death sentance and these buses there would be less crime,

  30. RideTheFuture says:

    Anybody posting here actually FEEL anything??

    Sickened by your theories!!

    I can just visualize the TV-remote-wielding lynchmob…

    Humankind ?? Be both ! !


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