China Will Scale Back Executions

Supreme Court orders judges to go easy on the death penalty
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2007 9:50 AM CDT
Meng Zhaoping shows a photo of her executed son, during a visit to Xi'an, in China's Shaanxi province Jan. 31, 2007. Meng believes her son's body was stripped of its organs for use in transplants, after...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – China's Supreme Court has ordered judges to stop being so execution-happy. China carries out more capital punishment than the rest of the world combined, but the Supreme People's Court posted an order on its website today that the death penalty should be used only for "an extremely small number of serious offenders"—and that economic crimes and crimes of passion should be excluded, in some cases.

Murders triggered by family disputes were singled out for leniency, if financial compensation has been tendered. Similarly, white collar criminals should get a break if they repay money that was defrauded. The court proposed two-year suspensions of death sentences to allow time for mitigating factors to be applied. Still, the court made it clear that it was not withdrawing overall support for executions.