China: World’s Top Executioner

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China is the world’s most populated country, is the largest manufacturing economy, along with other “most”s. Add to that list: World’s Top Executioner. But they aren’t advertising it; they don’t want you to know.

International human rights organization Amnesty International estimates that China committed “thousands” of executions in the past year.

The group conducts an annual report on the death penalty worldwide, saying that the most recent report shows an “alarming surge” in capital punishment to at least 1,634 in 2015. That is a startling roughly 50 percent increase from the year prior.

However, this statistic does not include the world’s most thought-of country as the leader in executions, China.

Another research and advocacy organization, Death Penalty Worldwide, which is an affiliate of Cornell Law School, estimates that China killed at least 2,400 people in 2014. This comes to one execution per 562,500 persons – a startling stat indeed.

Due to its deep concerns on how China skews its figures to reflect far lower numbers than are true, Amnesty has shied away from including China in its report, saying that “available information indicates that thousands of people are executed and sentenced to death in China each year.”

Amnesty International’s China research specialist William Nee told CNN that the lack of transparency in China is confusing. “It’s still very opaque,” he said.

In fact, Nee believes that it is quite ironic that the Chinese government goes to lengths to hide the actual number of capital punishment it deploys. “One of the paradoxes about the death penalty in China, is if it’s supposed to be a deterrent, you would think all death sentences should be made public,” he commented.  

Actually, state-run media of executions has reduced, according to Nee.

He also told CNN that China has recently seen a general shift in public attitudes against the death penalty, though it is “impossible to have a widespread public movement” because of the heavy government controls on free expression. He urged thorough reporting, as it is impossible to measure any progress accurately without it.

“The Chinese government should fully come clean about the truth of the death penalty in China.”



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