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August 24 2010 | CHINA


Death penalty for 13 economic crimes may be scrapped

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China may scrap death penalty for some crimes

BEIJING - China may eliminate capital punishment for some economic crimes as it moves to curb use of the death penalty in a country believed to execute more people than the rest of the world combined.

China's National People's Congress will this week consider an amendment to the nation's criminal law that will take 13 offences off the list of 68 crimes now punishable by death, state-run Xinhua news agency said Monday.

According to Amnesty International, China executes more people each year than the rest of the world put together, but the exact number remains a closely guarded state secret.

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

Most executions are carried out for violent crimes such as murder and robbery, the China Daily reported last month, but drug trafficking and some corruption cases also are punishable by death.

Xinhua said crimes that may become exempt from capital punishment include tax fraud and "fraudulent activities involving financial bills".

Other offences including smuggling of cultural relics, precious metals and rare animals may also be wiped off the list.

"Considering China's current economic and social development reality, appropriately removing the death penalty from some economy-related non-violent offences will not negatively affect social stability nor public security," legislator Li Shishi was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The move would "better protect human rights", the report said.

Of the 68 current capital crimes in China, 44 do not involve violent acts.

The draft amendment will also aim to forbid the death penalty against convicted criminals aged 75 years or more, the China News Service said.

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

Firing squads have traditionally been used in Chinese executions, however in recent years the state has increasingly adopted lethal injections.

The amendment will be read during this week's session of the parliament's standing committee, its key law-making body.

Draft laws are typically read several times before being adopted.


Associated Press

China says it is considering dropping the death penalty for economic crimes

China, which executes more people each year than any other country, said Monday it is considering dropping capital punishment for economic crimes.

BEIJING  — China, which executes more people each year than any other country, said Monday it is considering dropping capital punishment for economic crimes.

A draft amendment to the country's criminal code proposes cutting 13 "economy-related, non-violent offenses" from the list of 68 crimes punishable by the death penalty, the official Xinhua New Agency said.

It is not known when the draft will become law. Xinhua said it was submitted for a first reading to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. A draft usually has two or three readings before it is voted on.

Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the U.S.-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation, said the draft was welcome but was unlikely to reduce the number of executions in China if it becomes law because it targets crimes that seldom, if ever, have the death penalty applied to them.

Critics say the death penalty in China is used to punish too many crimes and is applied too often. They also say the judicial system is overly secretive in deciding on death penalty cases.

Rosenzweig said there was still pressure to have criminals serve longer sentences, with the draft also proposing that the maximum fixed-term sentence be raised from 20 to 25 years.

The draft includes a proposal to abolish the death sentence for people 75 years of age and older, which Rosenzweig said was largely symbolic because there were so few death sentences for criminals in that age group.

The website of the NPC, which opened its bimonthly session Monday, confirmed the draft is being considered but did not give any details.

Xinhua said the crimes to be dropped from the list of those punishable by death included carrying out fraudulent activities with financial bills and letters of credit, and forging and selling invoices to avoid taxes. Others included smuggling cultural relics and precious metals such as gold out of the country.

It quoted Li Shishi, director of legislative affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, as saying that because of China's economic development, dropping the death penalty from some economic-related crimes would not hurt social stability or public security.

In recent years China has made several changes to how it decides and carries out the death penalty.

In May, new rules were issued saying evidence obtained through torture and threats cannot be used in criminal prosecutions and said such evidence would be thrown out in death penalty cases that are under appeal.

Those new regulations made it clear that evidence with unclear origins, confessions obtained through torture, and testimony acquired through violence and threats are invalid. It was the first time Beijing had explicitly stated that evidence obtained under torture or duress was illegal and inadmissible in court.

The rulings are important for death penalty cases, where a flawed system has led to the deaths of several criminal suspects by torture in detention centers.

In 2008, China's top court said about 15 percent of death sentence verdicts by lower courts were found to have problems, the official China Daily newspaper reported in May.




PECHINO, 23 AGO - Un progetto di legge per la riduzione dei reati punibili con la pena di morte e' stato presentato all'Assemblea Nazionale del Popolo, il Parlamento cinese, che lo esaminera' nei prossimi giorni. Lo afferma l'agenzia Nuova Cina.

Nella maggior parte dei casi i progetti vengono esaminati due o tre volte dal Comitato Permanente dell'Assemblea, prima di essere sottoposti per l' approvazione alla seduta plenaria. Il progetto prevede l'abolizione delle pena capitale per 13 reati non di sangue, legati al contrabbando e alla corruzione.

Attualmente, in Cina la pena di morte puo' essere comminata per 68 reati. Sia il numero delle condanne a morte e che quello delle esecuzioni sono considerati segreti di Stato. Le organizzazioni umanitarie internazionali affermano che sono migliaia ogni anno.

Il governo cinese sostiene che il numero delle condanne alla pena capitale si e' ridotto dal 2007, quando e' stato stabilito che devono essere approvate dalla Corte Suprema di Pechino. Il dibattito sulla pena di morte si e' acceso negli ultimi anni dopo che sono emersi una serie casi nei quali i condannati a morte sono risultati innocenti.




Pechino, 23 ago. - L'Assemblea Nazionale Popolare cinese ha presentato un progetto di modifica del Codice Penale nel quale si propone di eliminare la pena di morte per 13 reati di tipo economico non violenti. Lo rende noto l'agenzia di notizie ufficiale Xinhua. Quella attuale e' la prima lettura in seno al Parlamento cinese e la proposta dovra' essere vagliata due o tre volte prima di passare al voto, spiega l'agenzia.

Attualmente in Cina la sentenza capitale puo' applicarsi in 68 tipi di reati, 44 dei quali non implicano violenza. Il gigante asiatico e' il Paese dove la 'macchina della morte' e' piu' attiva: secondo i dati di Amnesty International, nel 2008 le esecuzioni sono state 1.067, ma secondo altre fonti la cifra reale supera le 8.000 esecuzioni.

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