China Shows Caution on Executions – John M. Glionna

A combination of Internet outrage, protest from world leaders, and Olympics scrutiny appears to be having effects on China’s approach to the death penalty. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Beijing correspondent, “facing pressure before the Olympics, Beijing’s policy is to ‘kill fewer, kill carefully.’ Activists urge more legal reforms.” In 10 years on China’s highest court, Xuan Dong had a hand in the executions of 1,000 people — most carried out by a bullet to the back of the head, often within weeks of the verdict. On his worst days, he considered himself a Communist Party hanging judge. Sitting on the Supreme People’s Court, he represented the last hope of the condemned. Secretly, he loathed rubber-stamping death sentences against people who he thought rarely deserved such a fate, often accepting confessions he knew were gained by torture. He watched silently as lawyers were beaten and dragged from court if they challenged the party’s will….[Full Text] See’s slideshow “The Last Five Hours of a Prisoner on Death Row,” posted on CDT last month. ...
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