China’s sick ‘death row interviews’

“Each week in Henan Province in central China, millions of people tune in to watch an extraordinary talk show called Interviews Before Execution, in which reporter Ding Yu interviews murderers condemned to death.

Every Monday morning, Ding Yu and her team scour the court reports to find cases to cover on their programme. They have to move quickly, as prisoners can be executed seven days after they are sentenced. - bbc

"Something’s seriously wrong with these people", was the first thought that crossed my mind when i encountered this article on the BBC site.

I liken this to people who pick their dish whilst it is swimming in the tank.  You know what the ed is talking about.  Picking a lobster, etc, from a tank and saying, ‘yeah, that’s the one.  I wanna eat that.’  You recognise the sentience of another, before killing it.  All this does is to reduce one’s empathetic instinct. 

Same thing goes with this ‘death row TV hit’ in China.  We recognise, or are at least exposed to, the humanity of a murderer when he appears on the telly, perhaps see him cry, or admit his faults, maybe apologise profusely, and then, we send him to the gallows.  Even in the face of being exposed to his humanity on the telly, we deem it alright to kill him thereafter? 

It’s one thing to not bother about a murderer’s death sentence after it is passed in court because what we are mainly exposed to there is her/is crime, the details, and all related matters.  Thereafter, we can brand her/im a ‘murderer’ and nothing more and tell ourselves that we’re just killing a ‘murderer’ and nothing more.  You could say that court proceedings dehumanise a person by focusing us purely on her/is crime as if they have no identity other than that.  So, for the relatively shallow, it doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing to kill her/im off.

the determination of right and wrong has to be guided by humanity and for humanity and not despite itHowever, after seeing her/im on the telly prior to her/is being strangled/poisoned/gassed/shot in the head, by the state with the thumbs-up of the people, to still send her/im off with little or no apprehension to her/is death just serves to dehumanise the masses.  And it’s not like they aren’t already pretty much dehumanised  the support of the death penalty, economic mutual cannibalism, and their gastronomic tenet of ‘eat anything that moves’ from live monkey’s brains to puppies to the fins of sharks and the testicles of endangered species.  As i said, ‘there’s something seriously wrong with a culture and history that produces people like this’. 

But what gets to me here is that when we can still send a person whose humanity we’ve witnessed in a pre-execution interview, it basically teaches people one thing.  That when it comes to ‘right and wrong’, your humanity doesn’t mean anything - whilst forgetting that the determination of right and wrong has to be guided by humanity and for humanity and not despite it.  People are further trained out of compassion and empathy.  They go by rules and tradition, not humanity and not reason.  It’s no wonder, just like all animals for gastronomic purposes, or all humanity, for economic ones, prisoners on death row are up for entertainment whilst the family polishes off their sunday dinners.