China

Country Profiles

Xi Jinping, the President of the People's Republic of China

China is the world’s most prolific executioner.  Numbers are a state secret.  Experts estimate about 3,000 people are currently executed each year, or around 60 people every week.

Despite this terrible record, it is, relative to the recent past, a significant reduction.  The numbers killed remains of course, terrible.  

Recent reforms include reducing the number of death eligible offences, imposing suspended death sentences, and the recentralisation of the judicial review process to the Supreme People’s Court in all capital cases, with its current policy of ‘kill fewer, kill cautiously’.

In 2007, China confirmed to the UN Human Rights Council a final goal of abolition.  There is a long way to go, but progress is being made.  There are profound weaknesses in the developing justice system, including illegal torture based confessions, procedural injustices, abuse of state power and corruption. The review process at the Supreme People's Court does however expose failings.  More reform and leadership can reduce these weaknesses and abolish executions.