China Secretly Executes Thousands Each Year—or More

Cattle rustling, vandalism capital offenses in China
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2010 3:16 AM CDT
Chinese policemen arrest a suspect during an assault drill in Nanning, southwest China's Guangxi region, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Want to find out how many people China executes each year? Not a chance, Kate Allen writes in the Guardian. Though China is known to execute more people each year than all other countries put together, the government keeps the actual numbers under such tight wraps that even Amnesty International in a recent report couldn't guess any closer than "thousands."

The 68 offenses that can get you executed in China include "reselling forged VAT receipts, causing damage to public property, and cattle rustling," Allen writes. "Three years ago a man was sentenced to death for selling overpriced ants." And the government's weird insistence on calling its death penalty figures a "state secret" has Allen wondering: "Could it be that the numbers of people in China going to their deaths before firing squads and in mobile lethal injection chambers is actually far higher than we already feared?"

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