Tuesday, 14 March 2006

China acknowledges death penalty abolition trend

A spokesperson for China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has acknowledged the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty, but said the conditions were not right for abolition in China.

Spokesperson Sun Huapu reportedly made the comments during an online forum with users of the Xinhuanet.com website and GOV.cn, the Chinese government's official web portal.

A Xinhua report on the forum was posted on the People's Daily Online and on GOV.cn.

Xinhua said Sun Huapu "made it clear that China is among the more than half of the nations in the world that have insisted on the death penalty".

"It is a global trend that the controversial practice will be gradually reduced until it is abolished in the whole world, he said."

He reportedly said that China retains the death penalty because the country is still in its initial stage of socialism and a developing country, and because the public still believed in the principle that "a killer should pay the victim with his life".

He said the country had exerted strict control over the death penalty, ensuring that only a very small number of criminals committing extremely severe crimes were executed.

In fact, more than half of the world's countries have abolished the death penalty or are no longer carrying out executions in practice.

Chinese academics estimate that China executes as many as 8,000 people each year.

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