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China Considers Dropping Death Penalty

Oct 27 , 2014

The Chinese government is considering a reduction in the number of crimes eligible for capital punishment, part of a long-term trend that has seen a decline in executions, though China still leads the world in the number of people put to death annually.

The proposal, which was put before the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Monday, would change the maximum punishment for nine crimes to life imprisonment, Xinhua, the state news agency, reported. The crimes include counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising, forcing others into prostitution, “obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties,” “fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime,” and smuggling ammunition, counterfeit currency, nuclear materials or weapons, Xinhua said.

China now lists 55 crimes for which offenders can be executed. In 2011 it dropped the death penalty for 13 offenses. That move was seen as largely symbolic, as the crimes were generally nonviolent acts for which the death penalty was rarely used. But the move signaled a willingness on the part of the authorities to restrict capital punishment.

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