Thursday, 19 February 2009

More lethal injections for Chinese province

Another province in China will replace firing squads with lethal injection as its method of execution.

Official newsagency Xinhua reported the chief justice of Liaoning province in northeast China last Saturday announced the end of execution by shooting (14 February).

Lethal injection was first used in Liaoning in November 2001, but shooting was still used to carry out death sentences in six of the province's 14 cities, said Wang Zhenhua, president of the Liaoning Provincial Higher People's court.

"Lethal injection reduces the pain and fear of the condemned. It is a more humane way for them to die," said Mou Ruijin, associate professor of the Law School of Northeast University.

According to Xinhua, "officials from the Liaoning Provincial Higher People's Court said lethal injection was more acceptable for convicts and their family members".

In June 2006 Zhejiang province in eastern China announced it would carry out all executions by lethal injection from 1 September that year.

A senior official of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said in January 2008 that lethal injection would eventually replace shooting in all executions ordered by intermediate courts.

SPC vice-president Jiang Xingchang said at the time that half of the country's 404 intermediate people's courts, which carried out most executions, currently used lethal injections.

"It is considered more humane and will eventually be used in all intermediate people's courts," Jiang told China Daily.

He said the SPC would assist local courts by distributing the toxin used in lethal injections.

Yunnan province in southwest China was the first to move exclusively to lethal injection in 2003.

According to Xinhua, the first lethal injection in China was carried out in Kunming on March 28, 1997.

Human rights campaigners have long rejected claims that lethal injection was "more humane" than other forms of execution, arguing the scientific evidence showed it could actually cause convulsions and a prolonged and painful death.

Related stories:
AI condemns China's expanded lethal injection -- 5 January 2008
Minister wants ‘tranquil’ killing: Japan -- 29 October 2007
Indonesia considers lethal injection -- 19 March 2007
China: Another province takes up the needle -- 20 June 2006

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