China's 470 executions in 2007 make it the world's leader, according to Amnesty International's annual report on the worldwide state of capital punishment. But even that number is likely low, the group says, with the real number probably in the thousands. "China gets the 'gold medal' for global executions," Amnesty's British director told the BBC.
Some 88% of executions worldwide took place in only five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the US. In China, capital crimes include not paying one's taxes, accepting bribes, or selling dangerous counterfeit goods. While a few provinces have introduced lethal injection, the majority of Chinese executions are performed by a firing squad.