China Says It Will Slash Executions
With 72% of the world's capital punishment, they've got a ways to go
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2009 10:58 AM CDT
A guard watches over inmates in their room at a compulsory drug rehabilitation center in China's northeastern Liaoning province. Six people were executed June 25, 2009, for drug-related offenses.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – China holds more executions yearly than any other country—but this week, state media announced China will be more forgiving, the New York Times reports. Only “an extremely small number” should be executed, said the vice president of the Supreme People’s Court. In 2008, Amnesty International claims, China executed 1,718 people, or 72% of the total worldwide, the BBC adds.

Courts will likely be urged to narrow the range of offenses that could draw a death sentence; currently, more than 60 crimes, including tax evasion and embezzlement, are punishable by death in China. “Judicial departments should use the least number of death sentences as possible, and death penalties should not be given to those having a reason for not being executed,” the court official added.