China’s state-run broadcaster, CCTV, announced plans earlier this week to live broadcast the execution of Naw Kham, notorious Burmese drug lord, and three of his henchmen for massacring 13 Chinese crewmen aboard a ship on the Mekong River.
During the program, China News Week started a poll on Weibo, China’s Twitter, asking whether people thought the live broadcast was right or wrong. The majority initially supported it, but that shifted until the majority were against CCTV’s decision. Within two hours of the execution, the poll was no longer accessible.
CCTV abruptly ended the broadcast just before the execution.
Viewers saw each man brought out of prison escorted by four armed guards amid a crowd of national media. Throughout the broadcast CCTV interspersed the live coverage with pre-produced documentary-like profiles of each man, awards presentations for the investigators responsible for the capture, and punditry.
Part of the narration noted that each man looked much healthier than they had when arrested. This was attributed to the good conditions they were given in prison. There was also a segment going back over the Mekong River massacre in detail. During a CCTV interview with Kham during his last meal, he said "I am afraid of death. I want to live. I don't want to die. I have children. I am afraid."