China is believed to kill more prisoners every year than any other country with a death penalty, but the exact numbers and details of the country's capital punishment system are closely guarded state secrets.
That's why this week's unusual feature in the Beijing Evening News, an interview with a Chinese executioner, has created such a stir. The officer, called Hu Xiao by the paper, describes the routine details of life on the firing line, and the terror of prisoners as they are brought in for the ultimate punishment. Hu describes feeling no remorse or empathy for the condemned, saying those who are executed are getting the punishment they deserve. While Hu is charged with shooting the condemned, China also uses lethal injection for some executions.
"In fact, it's not as complicated as outsiders think. We all use rifles, stand about four meters from the condemned prisoner with a barrel one meter-long, take aim, press the trigger, and that's that," Hu said, according to a translation of the piece from Reuters.