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Amnesty International Releases Report on Death Penalty in China

In April, Amnesty released a report on the death penalty in China entitled ‘China’s Deadly Secrets’. In spite of the near absolute secrecy over the Chinese death penalty system, Amnesty estimated that in 2016 China carried out more executions than all other countries combined. The Report also objected to the unverifiable claims by the Chinese government that the country has been ‘killing fewer, killing cautiously’ (shaosha shensha). To The Guardian, Amnesty International East Asia Director Nicholas Bequelin explained that without concrete statistics there is no way to verify such claims, and demanded that China ‘stop being a rogue state in the international community with respect to the death penalty and finally allow the Chinese people to have a proper, informed debate about capital punishment in the country.’ Commenting on the Report for The New York Times, Professor Susan Trevaskes, an expert on the death penalty in China, claimed that the number of people executed annually is probably in the ‘low thousands’ and that the Chinese government has significantly reduced the use of capital punishment since the mid-2000s. According to the Report on China released by Amnesty International, a partial dataset of cases shows that farmers and the unemployed constitute the majority of people given death sentences. EN

(Sources: Amnesty International Global Report; Amnesty International China Report; The Guardian; Quartz; The New York Times)

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