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China’s Execution Practices: A Deep Dive into Policy and Procedure.

In 2010, the Supreme People’s Court began advocating the increased use of lethal injection rather than shooting as the favoured method of execution. In practice, however, China is believed to carry out executions by at least one other mode: organ removal.



China executed 2,400 people in 2013: report | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera

China’s use of the death penalty has long been a subject of controversy and intrigue. With a legal system that allows for capital punishment in a wide array of cases and a lack of transparency surrounding its execution practices, understanding China’s approach to the death penalty requires careful examination.

China’s legal system permits the death penalty for an extensive range of offences, including both violent crimes like murder and non-violent crimes such as drug trafficking and corruption. The country’s Penal Code outlines a staggering 46 crimes punishable by death, indicating the severity of its approach to criminal justice.

Law Pavillion
Law Pavillion

However, the criteria for imposing the death penalty and the procedural safeguards in place to prevent wrongful convictions are areas of concern.

China employs various methods to carry out executions, including lethal injection, firing squads, and mobile death vans. The choice of method often depends on factors such as location, logistics, and public perception.

While lethal injection is increasingly favoured in urban areas for its perceived humane nature, firing squads and mobile death vans are still used in some regions, raising questions about the ethics and humanity of these practices.

Excluding China, Amnesty International said it had recorded 883 executions in 2022 - a huge jump from 579 in 2021. After China, it said Iran had executed around 570 people, followed by Saudi Arabia, which executed 196. But China's total outstripped them all, and is estimated to be more than all other countries combined

Unraveling the Enigma of China’s Capital Punishment System

One of the most significant challenges in understanding China’s execution practices is their lack of transparency and accountability. The government does not publicly disclose the number of executions carried out each year, making it difficult to assess the true extent of the death penalty’s use.

This lack of transparency hampers efforts to monitor and evaluate the fairness and effectiveness of China’s capital punishment system.

Public attitudes toward the death penalty in China are complex and multifaceted. While some segments of society support its use as a deterrent to crime and a means of maintaining social order, others criticize it as inhumane and unjust.

Chinua Asuzu

Cultural and historical factors also influence perceptions of capital punishment, with traditional notions of justice and retribution significantly shaping public opinion.

China’s execution practices have far-reaching implications beyond its borders. The country’s status as the world’s leading executioner raises concerns among human rights advocates and international organizations.

Analyzing China’s Approach to Capital Punishment and its Implications

Calls for China to abolish or at least disclose its use of the death penalty have been met with resistance from the government, highlighting the challenges of addressing human rights issues in an increasingly globalized world.

China’s approach to capital punishment is characterized by a complex interplay of legal, cultural, and political factors. While the country’s legal framework permits the death penalty in a wide range of cases, questions remain about the fairness, transparency, and ethics of its execution practices.

As China grapples with these issues, the international community must remain vigilant in advocating for human rights and justice for all.

China executed 2,400 people in 2013: report | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera
China executed 2,400 people in 2013


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Dr Emmanuel Olowononi
Dr Emmanuel Olowononi

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