China: Horrific New Year
In a press release, Amnesty International finds that there were 200 executions reported in the two weeks leading up to the start of the lunar new year, 9 February:
There were at least 650 executions reported in local media in the months of December and January alone. Both months are considered to be ‘normal’, without the peaks seen around certain public holidays, although the true figure is certainly much higher, as China refuses to publish full details of all the people it executes.
“There is a huge gap between policy and practice with regard to the death penalty in China,” said Catherine Baber, Deputy Asia Director at Amnesty International. “While the government claims that the death penalty is applied cautiously, the ritual peak in executions we’re witnessing at the moment completely undermines any pretence of ‘caution’. Moreover, there is the very real concern that a number of those executed may have been innocent: China’s justice system is simply not sound enough to guarantee a fair trial.”