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Ex-drug chief's execution justified, but capital punishment should be limited: expert (3)
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21:17, July 12, 2007

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China should first amend its criminal law and reduce the number of capital crimes from 68 to 8. The court should be extremely cautious in handing out death sentences. Should there be any doubts about whether death is the appropriate penalty, the execution should always be dropped, suggested Cui.

"Currently, most Chinese people are unwilling to accept the abolition of the death penalty. But as the country moves forward and becomes more open, people will eventually change their minds," said Cui.

In fact, China began reforming laws relating to capital punishment at the beginning of the year.

On Jan. 1, 2007, the Supreme People''s Court (SPC) recovered the right to review all death penalty decisions made by lower courts, ending its 24-year absence in approving China''s execution verdicts.

The immediate result was a drop of 10 percent in the number of death sentences in the first five months of 2007 compared with the same period last year.

In June, China further pledged to make its death penalty system more transparent, demanding that more trials that could result in a death sentence be held in public. China''s courts started recruiting more staff for death penalty reviews.

The Supreme People''s Court is determined to ensure a balanced and standardized approach to the death penalty across the country.

Source: Xinhua
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