- (AFP) - China sentences to death and immediately executes
around 10,000 convicted criminals every year, according to a delegate who
was seeking to curb the practice at China's just closed parliamentary
- "Every year China has nearly 10,000 cases of the
death penalty that result in immediate execution. This is about five times
more than all the other death penalty cases from other nations
said Chen Zhonglin, a National People's Congress (NPC) delegate from
- Chen's statement, in a weekend edition of the China Youth
Daily, is believed to be the first time that such a number has appeared
in the state-controlled press.
- If correct, the numbers put to death are far higher than
the estimated annual number of executions reported by human rights
- London-based Amnesty International counted 1,060 reported
executions in the state press in China last year, while Hands Off Cain,
an international group opposed to the death penalty, estimated that more
than 3,000 people were executed in China in 2002.
- While China is notorious for its liberal use of the death
penalty, it has held the number of people executed each year as a closely
guarded state secret.
- "We have never published such a figure so we do
not know where Chen Zhonglin got this number," a spokesman at China's
Supreme People's Court told AFP Monday.
- "We cannot comment on this figure, nor can we
- In a proposal signed by Chen and 40 other delegates to
the NPC, the government was urged to review all death sentences at the
Supreme People's Court, China's highest court, instead of allowing
high courts to issue the execution order.
- "The power of final verification and approval is
very much tied up in the fate of some 10,000 people executed every year
in China and should be a deep concern for everyone," said Chen, who
also serves as the president of the law school at Southwestern University
of Politics and Law.
- The delegates expressed their concern that the government
was acting illegally by not verifying and approving all capital punishment
verdicts at the highest level as stipulated by law, the China Youth Daily
- "This violates the 1996 'Criminal Procedural Law'
and the 1997 'Criminal Law'," Chen said.
- Yi Yanyong, a criminal law professor at Tsinghua
School of Law, said the number of executions in China cited by Chen could
be accurate as he would have special powers of investigation as an NPC
- "These NPC delegates do have some special powers
so if he asked the right official then there is a possibility that this
number is accurate," Yi told AFP.
- "However, if he went around from court to court
asking lower level officials how many people they executed, like a lot
of scholars have tried to do, then it would be very difficult to come up
with an accurate figure."
- There was also a possibilty that the figure used by Chen
was his own estimate and was being used to bring more attention to the
issue, Yi said.
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