China could outlaw the death penalty for 9 crimes

A small step in the right direction

By Joanna Rothkopf
Published October 27, 2014 4:36PM (EDT)

According to state media, China's Communist Party is considering broad reforms on the country's legal system, and one of them would curtail the use of the death penalty, making it illegal to inflict the sentence for nine crimes.

The change was submitted to the country's National People's Congress as a draft amendment to China's criminal law.

Reuters reports:

Crimes that would be exempt from capital punishment under the amendment include "smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currencies; counterfeiting currencies; raising funds by means of fraud; and arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution," Xinhua said.

The crimes of "obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties" and "fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime", are also under review, the new agency said.

Officials had previously said that China would review the application of the death penalty, which applies to 55 offenses, including fraud and illegal money-lending.

Although the official number of those executed in China is officially a state secret, a U.S. rights group, the Dui Hua Foundation published a report indicating that 2,400 people had been executed in 2013 alone. The group said their source was an official with access to official data.

"China currently executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined, but it has executed far fewer people since the power of final review of death sentences was returned to the [Supreme People's Court] in 2007," the organization said.

According to Amnesty International, outside of China, 778 people were executed in 2013. Of the 193 member states in the United Nations, 173 have outlawed capital punishment. The United States is the only country in the Americas that still uses the death penalty. Texas has been responsible for 41 percent of those killed by the government.

Joanna Rothkopf

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Capital Punishment China Criminal Justice Death Penalty Law And Order