Mainland China executed at least 89 convicted criminals in one day as part of its nationwide “strike hard” campaign against organized crime, state newspapers reported Thursday.
The executions took place on Wednesday along with mass sentencing rallies nationwide where at least 46 death sentences were handed down, according to accounts in state newspapers.
The one day tally was one of the highest on record for communist China, which according to the human rights group Amnesty International executes more people annually than the rest of the world combined.
At least 21 criminals were executed in mainland China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen, while 17 were executed in central Zhengzhou, 28 in Guangzhou and 10 in northern Xian, the China Police Daily said.
The figure could well have topped 100 as major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai announced executions but did not give the numbers or details.
The executions came after leading law enforcer Luo Gan urged police departments to strike hard to “smash blackness and wipe out evil,” it said.
“Whether the struggle to ‘smash blackness and wipe out evil’ will be authoritative and effective is dependent on whether or not the overall strike hard campaign can get off to a good start,” Luo was quoted by Wednesday’s People’s Daily as saying.
Luo, a member of the Communist Party’s 21-strong politburo who has led the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement, complained about an increasing volume of criminal cases, including bombings, murder, armed robberies, kidnappings and other “seriously violent criminal activities.”
“The disgusting social sicknesses of pornography, gambling and drugs have appeared unabated, along with mafia-like groups of criminal gangs and hooligans,” he said.
The executed were convicted mostly of violent crimes, including murder and armed robbery, while much of the emphasis was on the criminal activities of organized groups, the reports said.
According to Xinhua news agency, the ongoing “strike hard” campaign is the fourth in mainland China since 1983 and comes as criminal cases have risen by 50 percent since 1999.
“Gang crimes with mafia features handled by courts across the country went up seven times, with many involving high-ranking party and government officials and the number of explosions increased by 2.6 times over the past two decades,” Xinhua said.