Olympic Venue Used for Death Sentence Parades; Heavy Security: Paramilitary Police on Guard at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Which Hosts the Olympics in 1 Days Cruel History: Beijing Workers' Stadium, Which Will Host the Games' Football Tournament, Was Used for Mass Sentencing Rallies Which Saw Prisoners Beaten and Humiliated

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Byline: KIRAN RANDHAWA

ONE of the stadiums for the Beijing Olympics was used for mass sentencing rallies where prisoners were paraded in front of jeering mobs before they were executed, the Evening Standard reveals today.

The Beijing Workers' Stadium hosted the events in which crowds cheered as "traitors" to the Chinese government were humiliated before being taken away and killed by firing squad or a shot to the head.

The 64,000-seat stadium, which will host the football tournament for the Games, has been hailed as the pride of Beijing, along with several other spectacular venues across the city.

The revelation about its past will embarrass China ? 10 days before the Olympic opening ceremony.

The venue - China's National Stadium before the "Bird's Nest" stadium was built - was used for sentencing rallies in the Sixties and Seventies.

The "shows", which would last for up to an hour, saw prisoners handcuffed and made to bow to officials. In some cases prisoners, often human rights protesters, were beaten.

The stadium was one of many across the country which held the events during China's Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976 which began as a struggle for power within the Communist Party and led to wide-scale violence.

While others were removed from office, Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party, was named supreme commander of the nation and army. His "Red Guards" launched attacks on so-called "intellectuals" as millions were forced into manual labour, and tens of thousands executed. …