This World: Interviews Before Execution

Every Saturday night in China millions of people gather around their televisions to watch Interviews Before Execution, an extraordinary talk show which interviews prisoners on death row. In the weeks, days or even minutes before they are executed, presenter Ding Yu goes into prisons and talks to those condemned to die.

In China, 55 crimes carry the death penalty. As a warning to others, the Chinese authorities have traditionally paraded prisoners through the streets before execution. Here they use a TV show on a state-owned channel. It’s a top-rated show in Henan Province and has made its presenter a star.
Ding Yu however, sees herself as more than just a reporter. She often goes to great lengths to track down family members and pass on prisoners’ messages to their loved ones. In an extraordinary twist and after a change in the law in China, Ding Yu follows one woman's five year battle to save her life and be reunited with her daughter.
Almost half of Ding Yu’s interviewees are women and all are perpetrators of violent crimes. While each case touches on universal themes such as jealousy, sex and money, the show’s coverage of subjects like homosexuality, still a huge taboo, reveal very different attitudes in modern China.           
Combining clips from the TV show, never before seen footage of China’s death row and interviews with a local judge who openly questions the future of the death penalty in China, this documentary reveals a part of China usually hidden from the world.


Confirmed for Monday 12 March on BBC Two at 11.20-12.20am

Monday 12 March



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