A Chinese state broadcast station decided Friday not to air the execution of a Burmese drug lord and his three lackeys after announcing earlier in the week that the executions would be aired on live television.
The state owned television station had previously announced that the execution would be aired, to much support of the Chinese population. Naw Kham, a 44-year-old drug lord, was accused of killing 13 crewmembers aboard a Chinese cargo ship. The public was infuriated by the crime.
"I haven't been able to sleep for two days. I have been thinking too much. I miss my mum. I don't want my children to be like me," Kahm told a Chinese TV interviewer during a two-hour television production that was meant to end in a live execution.
The network failed to explain why it revoked its decision to air the execution. Popular opinion on whether it was right or wrong to air the execution, had shifted however in the midst of the production. In a poll sponsored by China News Week and posted on the social media site Weibo, which is comparable to Twitter, the number of those in favor of witnessing the execution began to dwindle during the broadcast.
The intention of the broadcast was for the government to a show its support of the Chinese population, according to one Chinese professor.
"I think [the broadcast] is compatible with what the government wants– to show the Chinese people that the government is serious about protecting them within the country and outside," Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said according to a Guardian report.
Kahm was captured last Spring in Laos. His three assistants were named as Hsang Kham from Thailand, Zha Xika from Laos and Yi Lai of "unknown origin". The four prisoners were sentenced to death last Autumn according to the Guardian.