By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
BEIJING - China's top legislature on Monday moved to drop the death penalty for 13 economy-related non-violent crimes in the latest amendment to the Criminal Law.
"The amendment focuses on limiting the death penalty by removing some of the death penalty crimes and restructuring China's criminal system," Li Shishi, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said at a bimonthly legislative session that started on Monday.
The revision would cut the current 68 crimes punishable by death under the Criminal Law by about one-fifth to 55.
If passed, it will be the first time the number of crimes subject to the death penalty has been reduced since the People's Republic of China enacted its Criminal Law in 1979.
It will also be a major move by China to limit the use of the death penalty, after the Supreme People's Court (SPC) began to review all death penalty decisions in 2007.
The draft amendment also states that the death penalty is not to be applied to people above 75 at the time the crime is committed.
Previously, only those aged under 18 at the time of the crime and pregnant women at the time of the hearing were exempt from capital punishment.
A draft law or amendment usually receives three reviews at the top legislature before being adopted.