China ‘Leads World’ in Death Penalty

According to a recently released report by human rights group Amnesty International, China meted out corporal punishment to 470 prisoners last year, more than any other country in the world. From the BBC:
More than 60 crimes can carry the death penalty in China, including tax fraud, stealing VAT receipts, damaging electric power facilities, selling counterfeit medicine, embezzlement, accepting bribes and drug offences, Amnesty said.
Those sentenced to death are usually shot, but some provinces are introducing lethal injections, which the government says is more humane.
The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in Beijing, says justice is usually swift – most of those sentenced to death are executed only weeks after they are found guilty.
The death penalty has popular support in China, our correspondent says, but the government has been attempting to reform the system.
Last year, it decreed that all cases involving the death penalty had to be referred to the Supreme Court. According to state media, this led to a 10% fall in executions in the first five months of 2007.
Here’s the Amnesty report.

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