BEIJING – China's top legislature on Monday moved to reduce the number of death sentences in the country by reviewing the latest amendment to the law which would see 13 crimes have execution removed as a punishment.
The revision, if passed, will cut the existing 68 death charges in Criminal Law by one fifth to 55. And it will be the first major modification of the law since its previous major revision in 1997, experts said.
Among the 13 death charges, most are seldom applied in recent years, including the crime of smuggling relics, crime of falsely making out specialized value-added-tax receipts.
A draft law or amendment usually receives three reviews at the top legislature - the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) – as required by legislation.
Wang Zhenmin, a professor on Criminal Law with Tsinghua University, said the reduction of capital punishment is an inevitable trend and a reflection of the country's social development based on the protection of human rights.
The amendment also suggests tightening the practice of probation and abatement, in a bid to optimize the structure of China's criminal punishment.
The country's longest jail term is proposed to be expanded from the current 20 years to 25 years, and probation is more strictly controlled than before, especially to repeat offenders, arch and violent criminals. Besides, community-based corrections are proposed to replace the former surveillance punishment.
Apart from the death penalty abolition, the amendment also emphasizes the protection of people's livelihood. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), malicious default of wages and illegal organ trade are all listed as independent charges in the amendment.
- Tele interview: Reasons and results of issuing fewer death sentences 2010-08-24
- More caution towards death penalty 2010-08-24
- China to reduce death penalty 2010-08-24