A 20-year-old porter named Ma Jingku showed little remorse in a Beijing court during his recent trial for murdering his boss’s daughter-in-law and her two-year-old son during a work dispute. The porter smiled and shrugged when grilled by the victims’ family about his crime, before turning to the court and stating, “I hope the judge can grant me the death penalty as soon as possible, and execute it immediately, thanks.”
Chinahush reports that the court hasn’t reached a verdict for Ma, whose lack of empathy for the victims and their family rings quite chilling given the nature of the murder:
When night fell, Ma wanted to go to bed when Ms Yun who was busy doing her laundry asked Ma to fix the light bulb and look after her son. “I was pissed at that time and refused it. She then commanded that as an employee I should do whatever she said.” Ma recalled. The two then got into a fight during which Ma picked up an axe in the corner and smashed it into Ms Yun’s head. “I just wanted to give her a lesson, but she screamed ‘help, somebody’s killing’ when holding her crying son. I panicked, and finished them.”
Though Ma’s smiling reaction to the retelling of his crime paints him as quite the sociopath, perhaps a different attitude may surface when he’s confronted about the murder before his execution.
A new hit TV series called The Execution Factor is a show which extracts shocking confessions from criminals accused of grisly murders, and is currently all the rage, according to the Daily Mail:
The glamorous Ms Ding conducts face-to-face interviews with the prisoners, who have often committed especially gruesome crimes. Her subjects sit in handcuffs and leg chains, guarded by warders. She warms up with anodyne questions about favourite films or music, but then hectors the prisoners about the violent details of their crimes and eventually wrings apologies out of them.
She promises to relay final messages to family members, who are usually not allowed to visit them on death row. The cameras keep rolling as the condemned say a farewell message and are led away to be killed by firing squad or lethal injection.
Even though the show was originally set up as a propagandistic cautionary tale on the consequences of crime, the prisoners’ responses to Ms. Ding’s questions do not always adhere to the show’s message. The show often reveals unexpected inner-monologues, feelings, and apologies which cast a more human light on those formerly deemed one-dimensional monsters. And despite Ms. Ding’s claims of “I don’t sympathize with them,” and “they deserve it [execution],” she says she can’t help but feel haunted by some of her interviewees.
Due to these revealing confessions, the show has garnered a huge audience and will air on BBC next week, though Chinese-only episodes are currently viewable on Youku.
Unfortunately, fearing possible allegations of civil rights’ violations unveiled by this backfired experiment, the government has announced that the show has now been cancelled.
Ma Jingku may turn out to be another slimy remorseless murderer, as have many of Ms. Ding’s interviewees (she even told a child killer, “everyone should hate you”) but the porter’s confessions could nonetheless illuminate important societal ills. One of Ms. Ding’s most watched interviews was a talk with an openly gay man charged with killing his mother and then defiling her corpse. The public described the episode as shedding light on the taboo subject of homosexuality and a group that’s been pushed to the fringes of society.
By discontinuing Ms. Ding’s show, the government not only sweeps these ills under the rug, but denies the human aspects of society’s shunned ones, scum or not. As Ai Weiwei recently said to the Yomiuri Shimbun, “The biggest crime of a dictatorship is to eradicate human feelings from people.”
Below is an episode of The Execution Factor (临刑会见) from 2009.