Tuesday, 20 June 2006

China: Another province takes up the needle

A number of countries in Asia are turning to lethal injection in the hope that it will provide a more efficient, politically palatable and less traumatic method of killing prisoners.

Recent reports in Viet Nam indicated the Police Ministry was in favour of a move to lethal injection (see the ADP report here).

In China, Yunnan Province reportedly pioneered the use of lethal injection following the 1996 amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law, and other provinces have since followed suit. Amnesty International has cited official press reports that Yunnan bought 18 buses in March 2003 and converted them to operate as mobile execution chambers.

Now China's Eastern Zhejiang province has embraced the trend, with the announcement that all executions will be carried out by lethal injection from 1 September this year.

The Zhejiang Provincial Supreme Court announced the change on 1 June, according to a report by the China Daily newspaper.

Lethal injection will replace the province's current use of firing squads.

China Daily reports that Supreme Court director Ying Yong said: "Execution by lethal injection demonstrates tremendous progress in China's criminal judgment proceedings and due to our solid efforts, Zhejing Province is capable of carrying out a death penalty of this kind."

"We won't be merciful with those who deserve the death penalty, but to those who haven't committed a grave crime, we won't carry out such a penalty," he said.

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