China is World’s No. 1 Executioner

China is known for being one of the most industrious and tech-forward counties in the world. But, where it really leads the world is an area they’d rather you not talk about. China outranks rest of the world in government-sanctioned executions, according to Amnesty International.

The organization’s latest global report on the death penalty indicates that the Chinese government sanctioned more than 1,032 executions worldwide in 2016. But the real score on the mainland remains property of the Communist state.

Still, Amnesty speculates that thousands of people could have been subject to capital punishment in China that year. Dui Hua, an American human rights group, puts the figure at about 2,000 based on court research and communication with government officials and scholars.

The Secretary general of Amnesty International has called on China to loosen the noose.

Salil Shetty says “China wants to be a leader on the world stage, but when it comes to the death penalty it is leading in the worst possible way – executing more people annually than any other country in the world.

“The Chinese government has recognized it is a laggard in terms of openness and judicial transparency, but it persists in actively concealing the true scale of executions. It is high time for China to lift the veil on this deadly secret and finally come clean about its death penalty system.”

Still, the rights group notes that the worldwide record on China’s card has dropped by 63% from 2015, when it executed at a record high.

Chief Justice Zhou Qiang has told China’s top legislative body that capital punishment applies only for “an extremely small number of criminals for extremely serious offenses.” Nonetheless, public criticism of the death penalty has risen due to a few high-profile cases involving victims who were later found to be innocent.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.