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China to reduce number of capital crimes: state media
Sat, Jul 24, 2010
AFP

BEIJING, CHINA - China will reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty from the current 68 in the latest step to cut back on the use of capital punishment, state media said Saturday.

The nation's top legislative committee will begin revising China's criminal law in August to reduce the number of capital crimes, the China Daily reported, quoting a legislative source.

The report did not say how many crimes would be subject to capital punishment after the revision or which offences would be removed from the current list.

China is widely believed to carry out more executions that the rest of the world combined, but the actual figure remains a state secret.

Amnesty International, in a report earlier this year, said the number was "believed to be in the thousands," compared to 2009's second-ranked executioner Iran, which the rights group said carried out at least 388 last year.

Most executions in China are carried out for violent crimes such as murder, robbery, but also for drug trafficking, the China Daily said. However, corruption cases also carry the death penalty.

But of the 68 capital crimes in China, 44 do not involve violent acts, it said.

The report said the law revision also could forbid the death penalty against convicts aged 70 years or more. It gave no other details on the planned revision.

China has taken measures in recent years to rein in use of capital punishment, including requiring the country's supreme court to review all such sentences before they are carried out. -AFP

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