Sobering final words from death row
Updated: 2013-07-16 07:14
Editor's Note: The following is a translation of a letter written by a woman just before she was executed for the crime of murder. It was addressed to a correctional officer at Tianjin First Custody Center and is dated May 2010.
I hope this finds you well. When you read this, I will already be in another world. I don't know whether a person like me can enter paradise, but if I do, I will pray for you every minute.
When you held my head in your arms yesterday and told me those words, I felt I finally understood the value of life. But it was too late.
If I could have known you earlier, my life may not have ended this way.
Please don't be upset, but there is one thing I've been hiding from you, even until now. The truth is not that I cannot find my father - he still lives in Tianjin - but that I really don't want to see him again. He gave up on me when I was 15. Every time I saw him, he scolded me. Now and then, during all these years of taking care of myself, I had the urge to go home and see him. But I was afraid he would scold me.
I learned to survive on the streets. If there had been just one family member who cared about me, I would not have lived like this.
I have noticed all the care you, director Shang (Li), and the other (guards) at the custody center have given me over the past two years. When I arrived (at the center), I was so silly. I broke the rules many times and even beat other inmates. I know it was wrong.
I have made several mistakes in recent days. I was really upset at the result of my death sentence review. I was not afraid of death when I came here, but over the years here with you, I have gained the courage to live on. That result came just as I had discovered that I don't want to die.
You were so kind to me; you celebrated my birthday, bought me new slippers, and fed me when I was sick. I felt a warmth I had never enjoyed outside (the center).
Last night I tossed and turned. I couldn't sleep. I thought about killing myself. I never dreamed you would sit on the ground with me, hold my head in your arms and tell me about life.
Although you are younger than me, I felt like a child again, laying in the arms of my mother. I don't know when I fell asleep.
I don't want to leave my new "home", but I know I have only a few days left. I just want to say sorry to the family of the elderly lady I killed. I will repay her in a future life.
I am leaving. If we meet in another life, I hope we can know each other and be like a family again.
(China Daily USA 07/16/2013 page5)