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White paper: China uses death penalty sparingly

By Zhao Wen (Shanghai Daily)

08:32, October 10, 2012

China retains death penalty, but controls its use and applies it strictly, according to a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, today.

The white paper, entitled "Judicial Reform in China," reviewed China's judicial system and reform process with a focus on maintaining social justice and protecting human rights.

China's Criminal Law stipulates that death penalty shall only be applied to criminals who have committed extremely serious crimes, and sets strict conditions on its application.

After China abolished death penalty for 13 economy-related, non-violent offences in the amended Criminal Law in 2011, only 55 offenders received death penalty.

The amendment also stipulates that death penalty shall not be used for people who are already 75 years old at the time of trial.

"Death penalty relates directly to a citizen's right to life, so it must be used cautiously," the white paper said, noting that starting 2007, only the Supreme People's Court, the country's highest court, has the right to approve death penalty.
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