China Leads the World in Executions

April 16, 2008 10:35 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
According to an Amnesty International report, China executed 470 people in 2007, but some believe the number is actually much higher.

30-Second Summary

Death penalty statistics are considered a state secret in China, and some estimate that nearly 8,000 people were put to death in 2006, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

Amnesty International’s U.K. director Kate Allen said, “According to reliable estimates, on average China secretly executes around 22 prisoners every day—that's 374 people during the Olympic games.”

China’s Foreign Ministry defended Beijing’s use of capital punishment, but did not address the issue of transparency. Amnesty is encouraging the International Olympic Committee to put pressure on China to be more forthcoming about its executions.

In November 2006, The New York Times reported that China had reformed its capital case process by adding “new rules requiring review of all death sentences by the Supreme People’s Court.”

According to he paper, the move restored “a power that was stripped from the Supreme Court in 1983 and given to provincial courts as part of a major crackdown on crime.”

In March 2008, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi championed the changes, saying that death sentences in China had been “strictly, cautiously and fairly” handed out to a small number of “serious criminal offenders” since the reforms went into effect in January 2007.

Headline Links: China leads the world in death sentences

Reaction: ‘China Defends Use of Death Penalty’

Background: China adopted tougher standards

Related Topic: China claims to be “prudent” with death sentences


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