UK Daily Mail 
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Death will come soon for Jiang Yong. A corrupt local planning official with a taste for the high life, Yong solicited money from businessmen eager to expand in China’s economic boom.
Showering gifts on his mistress, known as Madam Tang, the unmarried official took more than £1 million in bribes from entrepreneurs wanting permission to build skyscrapers on land which had previously been protected from development.
But Yong, a portly, bespectacled figure, was caught by the Chinese authorities during a purge on corrupt local officials last year.
He confessed and was sentenced to death. China executed 1,715 people last year, so one more death would hardly be remarkable.
Disguised: The execution vehicle looks like a normal police van
But there will be nothing ordinary about Yong’s death by lethal injection. Unless he wins an appeal, he will draw his final breath strapped inside a vehicle that has been specially developed to make executions more cost-effective and efficient.
In chilling echoes of the ‘gas-wagon’ project pioneered by the Nazis to slaughter criminals, the mentally ill and Jews, this former member of the China People’s Party will be handcuffed to a so-called ‘humane’ bed and executed inside a gleaming new, hi-tech, mobile ‘death van.’
After trials of the mobile execution service were launched quietly three years ago – then hushed up to prevent an international row about the abuse of human rights before the Olympics last summer – these vehicles are now being deployed across China.
The number of executions is expected to rise to a staggering 10,000 people this year (not an impossible figure given that at least 68 crimes – including tax evasion and fraud – are punishable by death in China).
Developed by Jinguan Auto, which also makes bullet-proof limousines for the new rich in this vast country of 1.3 billion people, the vans appear unremarkable.
They cost £60,000, can reach top speeds of 80mph and look like a police vehicle on patrol. Inside, however, the ‘death vans’ look more like operating theatres.