China to drop death penalty for some crimes

13:13, August 23, 2010      

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China said Monday it is considering dropping death penalty for some economic crimes.

A draft amendment to China's criminal law proposes cutting 13 "economy-related, non-violent offenses" from the list of 68 crimes punishable by the death penalty, the Xinhua New Agency said on Monday in a report.

It is not known when the draft amendment will become law. The official Xinhua agency said it was submitted for a first reading to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the parliament. A draft usually has two or three readings before it is voted on. And, amendment of such significance would need three readings.

The website of the NPC confirmed the draft is being considered but did not give any details. Xinhua did not specify which crimes were being dropped from the death penalty list. But sources said the crimes of relic smuggling, or producing fake value-added tax receipts would be taken out from capital punishment.

In recent years China has made several changes to how it decides and carries out the death penalty.

In May, new rules were issued saying evidence obtained through torture and threats cannot be used in criminal prosecutions and said such evidence would be thrown out in death penalty cases that are under appeal.

Those new regulations made it clear that evidence with unclear origins, confessions obtained through torture, and testimony acquired through violence and threats are invalid. It was the first time Beijing had explicitly stated that evidence obtained under torture or duress was illegal and inadmissible in court.

People's Daily Online / Agencies

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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