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FM: China "very prudent" on death penalty
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13:13, March 12, 2008

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· NPC & CPPCC Sessions 2008
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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi defended the country's death penalty on Wednesday, saying the government is very "prudent" in this regard.

Yang made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of China's parliament.

Whether there is death penalty or not is decided by a country in light of its own conditions, and China is not the only one in the world that has death penalty, he said.

"China's position on death penalty is very prudent, serious and responsible," he said, noting that the Supreme People's Court took back the power of reviewing death penalty on Jan. 1 last year.

The Supreme People's Court loosened its control over death penalty review in 1983 amid a strike-hard national campaign against soaring crimes following the decade-long Cultural Revolution. But over the years, judges in different areas have been found to handle similar cases in varied ways.

Chinese top judge Xiao Yang said on Monday at the parliamentary session that capital punishment has been "strictly, cautiously and fairly" meted out to a tiny number of serious criminal offenders since Jan. 1 last year.

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