Liaoyang, China—In the end, Yuan Baojing’s wealth couldn’t save his life but merely ensured a less messy execution.
On a windy March morning, Yuan was sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in the killing of a local policeman. Only six months earlier, authorities had given the corporate raider a reprieve after, by some accounts, his wife promised to surrender $6 billion in oil company stock to the state.
Yuan, dressed in white, appeared stunned when the latest verdict was read. “I can’t accept this. I have information to expose others,” the 40-year-old shouted as he was led out of the courthouse by helmeted police into a black van.
Three miles outside the city, the van pulled into the gates of the Liaoyang Funeral Home, where Yuan was shoved into a police van outfitted with a bed and a computer, acording to a person at the scene. Two injections were pumped into Yuan. The first paralyzed him; the second stopped his beating heart.
Just three hours after the death sentence, authorities delivered the ashes from Yuan’s cremated body to his wife, according to the witness and local Chinese media. She also got a bill for $2,500—the cost of the lethal injection that replaced the cheaper and more common form of execution here: a bullet to the back of the head. —Don Lee, L.A. Times, July 8, 2006