01/03/2008, 00.00
CHINA

Beijing chooses lethal injection for death penalty : “its more humane”

The country has no intention of abolishing the use of capital punishment. According to leading Party figures, there are at least 10 thousand executions per year. And a florid trade in the organs of the condemned.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – China has no intention of halting the use of the death penalty, but it wants to overhaul it: it will use lethal injection, instead of the firing squad.  The move was announced by Jiang Xingchang, vice-president of the Supreme Court in a declaration to China Daily. The lethal injection “is considered more humane and will be used in all intermediary courts”.

Execution by lethal injection was introduced to China in 1997, yet to date the most common method of killing condemned is by firing squad.

China is the number one in the world for the number of executions.  In 2007, of the 1,591 executions via firing squad carried out worldwide last year, at least 1,010 people were executed in China.

Since November 2005 Beijing has overhauled its capital punishment system, the Supreme Court is the only court with the power to give out death sentences.  This has led to a reduction in official deaths, even if party leaders confirm that over 10 thousand death sentences are passed each year in the country.  However China has no intention of abolishing the death penalty. In an interview with the China Daily Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme Court, declared that “We cannot talk about abolishing the use of death sentences in the abstract without considering ground realities and social security conditions”. He explained that most Chinese have an “eye-for-an-eye” mentality.

Currently China condemns people to death for crimes ranging from tax evasion, corruption, drug trafficking to murder.

Jiang Xingchang noted that the use of the lethal injection has been welcomed “above all by the condemned and their families”.

Human rights organisations however that the use of the lethal injection is of greater benefit to China, in order to trade the organs of the condemned, given that it damages them less.

In 2006 The British Transplant Society,(Bts)  warned that there is “increasing evidence” that “organs of those who have been put to death are being used in transplants without family consent".
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