"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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The Death Penalty, with Chinese Characteristics


Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Monday, May 28, 2001

The European Parliament, considers capital punishment to be both barbaric and inhumane, regardless of the means by which the death penalty is carried out. They routinely mention the United States in the same breath as China, Iran and Iraq, as countries where executions are routinely carried out.

China executed 29 people in one day last week. The crimes ranged from rape and murder to corruption and running criminal gangs. In China, executions are public events. In 1993, three colleagues of mine stumbled upon an execution being carried out in southwest China near the borders with Laos and Burma.

My friends, two men and one woman, were on their way to visit an aid project site when they drove into a road block set up near a village.

Army trucks were blocking the way and special forces were manning the blockade.

They were near a Dai village. The Dai are an ethnic minority group, somewhat like our Native Americans, who live in the low-lands in a sub-tropical area of Yunnan Province. Rice farmers, they build their houses on stilts to allow for the tropical air to circulate under their houses, thus keeping them cool.

The execution was taking place near the village. While the three aid workers were told to remain in their vehicle, one of the guards was forthcoming with news that five people were being executed that day. They had been caught smuggling opium into China from Burma.

The five people lived in the area, a couple of them from the Dai village itself. That’s why the executions were taking place there, as a public lesson to the villagers “that this is how we deal with drug traffickers”.

The village was empty as the villagers were required to watch the executions.

In this area of China, with its proximity to the Golden Triangle, (Thailand, Laos, Burma), opium production is a traditional way of life. Old people in the Dai village routinely smoked opium as a medicinal treatment for their aches and pains. And, up until now, the Chinese authorities had turned their heads the other way, knowing that old people, too poor to afford modern medicine, were still using opium.

But in the early 1990’s, the Beijing authorities issued a crackdown on drugs as they were seeing an increase in heroin use in urban areas. Thus the showcase executions in the Dai village.

The Peoples Republic does not release the total numbers of people they execute yearly, but in the boo .....
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Hoffman Stables

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editor here

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, June 25, 2001

I must say that I became very confused while reading “In The Mail” this past Monday. I became confused while reading the letter to the Editor submitted by Mr. Kramer. It amazes me that people can ..... 
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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Gladys Judith Swain

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Gladys Judith Swain, 93, of Rushford, a homemaker, died March 7, 2001 at her home.

Gladys Judith Williams was born May 15, 1907, on the Humble farm at Highland Prairie, moved to North Dakota with her family when she was 3 months old and retu ..... 
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Ronald Thorson

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Ronald Thorson, 65, of rural Mabel, a retired Lockheed Corp. employee, died April 28, 2001 at Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital in Decorah, Iowa.

Ronald was born Aug. 28, 1935, in Decorah to Levi and Esther (Rotvold) Thorson. He graduated ..... 
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