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China mulls trimming death penalty crimes

PTI Beijing | Updated on March 09, 2014 Published on March 09, 2014

China is considering to soften its image as one of the biggest executioners by further reducing the number of crimes for which capital punishment is awarded.

An amendment to the Criminal Law has been included in the annual legislative agenda of China’s top legislature National People’s Congress (NPC), said Zang Tiewei of the NPC Standing Committee’s Commission for Legislative Affairs said on Sunday.

The legislature will study the possibility of reducing the number of types of crimes to which the death penalty is applicable, based on the needs of China’s economic and social development and criminal deterrence, he told the media here. China previously reduced the number of crimes punishable by death in 2011.

The country’s legislature, at that time, adopted an amendment to the Criminal Law, reducing the types of crimes punishable by death by 20 per cent or 13 in number. It was also the first reduction since the Criminal Law took effect in 1979.

A key reform blueprint of the Communist Party of China published in November said China will reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty “step by step.” Currently, all death penalties have to undergo review by the Supreme People’s Court.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International have accused China of excessively using the death penalty, raising public concern of irreversible miscarriages of justice.

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Published on March 09, 2014
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