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Ex-drug chief's execution justified, but capital punishment should be limited: expert (2)
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21:17, July 12, 2007

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"There''s no need to waste bullets on him. Just feed him the fake medicines he approved. That''ll kill him," said one angry net surfer on sohu.com.

On the other hand, Chinese criminal law takes a much more hard-nosed attitude to capital punishment than other countries. Over 100 countries have abolished the death penalty. Those that have retained the penalty only have 3 to 5, or at most 7 to 8 crimes that are punishable by death. In China, however, 68 crimes can lead to capital punishment, Cui said.

"The international trend is to limit death sentences. China should apply the death penalty less extensively," Cui said.

The death sentence for corrupt officials gives rise to difficulties in international cooperation in the fight against crime. Many corrupt officials manage to escape capital punishment by absconding abroad. The countries where they reside often refuse to extradite criminals to China for fear they may be executed.

"As a result, only those unable to go abroad are executed, whereas major criminals who escape overseas can evade the just punishment. Justice is not served over such circumstances," Cui said.

Furthermore, while it is understandable that angry citizens demand the death penalty for corrupt officials, executing malfeasants needs to be carefully considered, Cui said.

"In dealing with matters of life or death, it is the law, not people''s outrage that justifies the death sentence," Cui said, adding that China should seriously consider reforming the death penalty.

The anti-corruption battle is complex, requiring sustained and systematic efforts. Killing a bunch of offenders is not the solution, said Cui.

Cui said China should consider joining the growing world trend toward the abolition of death penalty.

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