A two-hour report over Chinese television that included live coverage of four convicted killers during their last moments before they were executed last Friday has touched off domestic and international criticism. It was reality television in the extreme, today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times commented in its report on the telecast. Although the moment that they were given lethal injections was not shown on China's CCTV, the telecast was condemned by Nicholas Bequelin, a Human Rights Watch researcher, who told the Times, I don't know of any other country, not Iran, Afghanistan or North Korea, that has nationally broadcast in this way the last moments of an executed prisoner. ... It is a step backward at a time we thought China was making progress with the death penalty. (China executes about 4,000 people annually, more than all of the other countries of the world combined, the Times observed.) China television has been focusing on the cases of the executed men, all of them foreign nationals (the leader was identified as Naw Kham, a 44-year-old Burmese national) for several months. During one program, Naw Kham told an interviewer, I am afraid of death. I want to live. I don't want to die. I have children. I am afraid.
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