The Sentencing and Execution of Nazi War Criminals, 1946
There do not seem to be designated facilities for death-sentenced prisoners; in Beijing, for example, prisoners are always taken to the No. 1 Detention Center to be executed, but not necessarily detained there beforehand. As an examples, both Beijing Prison and Guangzhou Prison held Iranian drug smugglers sentenced to death in 2010. Prisoners may also be held in one of a variety of locations before they are executed in a roving “death van.”
Eyewitness accounts of the Nuremberg verdits and executions
Thirteen death-eligible economic crimes were removed from the Criminal Law in 2011. It was the first time China had reduced the number of crimes subject to the death penalty since the law took effect in 1979. The crimes that are no longer death-eligible include: smuggling cultural relics, gold, silver, and other precious metals and rare animals and their products; engaging in fraud with financial bills or letters of credit; the false issuance of exclusive value-added tax invoices to defraud export tax refunds or to offset taxes; forging or selling forged exclusive value-added tax invoices; teaching crime-committing methods; and robbing ancient cultural ruins. At the same time, the government increased the number of death-eligible crimes, adding the offense of forced organ donation and expanding the circumstances under which death can be imposed for producing or selling harmful food and medicine.
Articles in the Criminal Law that authorize the death penalty for crimes other than murder often do so ambiguously, providing for lengthy imprisonment or death under crimes involving death, serious injury or some other aggravating circumstance. Articles 5 and 48 of the Criminal Law imply that courts in China should interpret such language narrowly; however, statements by the Supreme People’s Court indicate that currently courts in China probably apply the death penalty broadly. Because China’s courts do not release information that would allow a narrower interpretation (though there are plans to publish key death penalty judgments in the near future for this reason), it is possible that the courts interpret statutory language providing for the death penalty expansively. This is consistent with reports based on leaks from official sources indicating that China’s execution rate exceeded 10,000 per year by the 1980’s and has only recently dropped to 5,000 to 7,000 executions per year.
Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
China’s anti-terrorism laws treat those participating in non-deadly terrorist activities that lead to serious injury or property loss under the laws for kidnapping and other crimes affecting public safety. Such other crimes could include sabotage of transportation, utilities, or certain construction equipment, setting fire, breaching dikes, causing explosions, spreading poison, or employing other dangerous means that lead to serious injuries or property loss. Additionally, airplane hijacking (resulting in serious injury or damage to the aircraft) or illegal trade, manufacture or transport of nuclear materials or other weapons, ammunition or explosives (with serious consequences) are death-eligible offenses that could be characterized as terrorism-related.
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Economic Crimes Not Resulting in Death.
A city official of Chengdu was executed in May 2008 for seeking and receiving bribes. A businessman was executed in November 2008 for fraud involving $416 million. Li Peiying, former chief of the Capital Airports Holding Company, was executed in August 2009 for taking bribes and embezzlement. A businesswoman was executed in August 2009 for “fraudulent raising of public funds.” A former securities trader was executed in December 2009 for embezzlement. A 50-year-old woman was executed in November 2011 for amassing $23 million in bribes and illicit wealth. A 55-year-old man was executed in July 2013 without his family being notified for illegally raising 3.4 billion yuan.
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Rape of Child Not Resulting in Death.
A school headmaster in Gansu province was executed in September 2008 for raping and molesting 39 girls between the ages of seven and 14. Former national legislator of Henan province, Wu Tianxi, was executed in August 2009 for seven crimes, including: raping 24 middle school girls (six aged between 12 and 14), organizing gang activities, and compelling others to engage in illegal fundraising. A man was executed in November 2011 for raping 14 schoolgirls. Li Xingpong, a former Communist Party official, was put to death in June 2013 for raping 11 girls under the age of 18.
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- Police killings. A 28-year-old man was executed in November 2008 for killing six policemen. Xia Junfeng, an unlicensed street vendor, was executed in September 2013 for stabbing two officers to death.
- Gang-related murder. Three mob leaders and four criminal gang members were executed in January 2010 for murder, as well as organizing a criminal gang, intentionally inflicting injury upon others, causing disturbance, extortion, illegal possession and trade of firearms, defamation and theft. Two members of a crime gang were executed in January 2010 for murder, as well as organizing a criminal gang, blackmail, illegal possession of arms, gambling, causing disturbance, and intentionally inflicting injury upon others.
- Serial killings. A serial killer who killed 11 people was executed in January 2013 – the court had found him guilty of intentional homicide, and deemed the circumstances of the case to be “especially serious.”
- Murder furthering another offense. A 21-year-old student was put to death in June 2011 for murdering a young mother to cover up a hit-and-run accident.
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Thousands are executed every year in China, but information about specific executions is not usually forthcoming. We have listed publicized executions from the last few years, but this list is far from complete, due to the lack of transparency relating to executions. It is, however, indicative of the types of executions that are covered by the Chinese media.
The People's Supreme Court considers the five main categories of death penalty-eligible crimes to be murder, robbery, abduction, drug trafficking and intentional injury. Studies indicate that around 80 percent of unsuspended death sentences may be for crimes involving the death of a victim.