It was meant to deter potential criminals but China’s latest TV show that interviews prisoners on death row has become a prime time hit.
Interviews Before Execution, a show that airs every Saturday night in China, has millions of people gathering around their televisions to watch those condemned to die opening up their hearts.
The Daily Mail reports that the interviews are recorded either minutes before the prisoners are put to death or sometimes when only days of their life remain.
Presenter Ding Yu goes into prisons to conduct the talk show with prisoners who have committed gruesome crimes.
Almost half of her interviewees are women and each case touches on universal themes such as jealousy, sex and money.
The subjects sit in handcuffs and leg chains and the interview starts with Ding Yu asking them anecdotal questions about their favourite movie, sport or film star.
However, as the show progresses, the interviewee reveals gory details of his/her crime and sometimes even apologises for them.
In one scene, a young falls to his knees and apologises to his parents, ‘Father, I was wrong. I’m sorry.’
In the next scene, his parents see him about to be led away to his death. His mother apologises for beating him once as a child and says, “Go peacefully. It’s following government’s orders.”
Excerpts from the series will be now be aired in Britain for the first time next week in a BBC 2 documentary.
According to the BBC, in China, 55 crimes carry the death penalty. As a warning to deter mor crimes, the Chinese authorities have traditionally paraded prisoners through the streets before execution.