China Announces 12 Executions in "Strike-Hard" Campaign

As part of the "Strike-Hard" campaign, which began mid-April, Chinese courts in Sichuan, Henan and Guangdong provinces executed 12 criminals today, the Supreme People's Court said.

The criminals were all engaged in serial robberies and murders.

The nation's police, prosecutors and courts are jointly participating in the nationwide anti-crime drive to deter the rising trend of criminal offenses for the better of the public.

"A large number of criminal offenders are being tried by courts, and their verdicts will gradually come out," said Jiang Xingchang, vice-president of the SPC.

The four men executed in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province, were engaged in armed robbery of passengers and vehicles along highways and local shops. They caused between seven and 11 deaths each.

Another four men executed by court in Luoyang City of Henan province were found to have used sleeping pills as weapons against their prey. Each man murdered up to five victims and stole property valued between 120,000 yuan and 340,000 yuan. They even murdered three accomplices for the sake of keeping their crimes secret.

And the four men put to death by a court in Huizhou City of Guangdong were farmers from the adjacent Hunan Province. They were "experts" in robbing taxi drivers and other drivers. The four men killed 9 drivers in one year from September 1998.

Intermediate courts at the three locations sentenced the 12 to death at first instance trials, and all three cases were appealed. Provincial courts upheld the verdicts of the three cases and approved the death sentences with authorization from the SPC.

The "Strike-Hard" campaign focuses on the most serious crimes such as: the violent crimes of explosions, murders, robbery, kidnapping, poisoning; gang crimes and crimes with Mafia features; thefts and other crimes that affect the public security.

According to official statistics, crimes registered by police for investigation last year rose by 50 percent over 1999. Gang crimes with Mafia features handled by courts across the country increased seven fold, with many involving high-ranking Party and government officials.

And the number of explosions has increased by 2.6 times over the past two decades. All signs indicate that China is at its fourth crime peak since 1983 when the country's first 'strike hard' campaign was launched. The last similar campaign was in 1996.

Chinese courts are expected to announce more penalties against criminals in the future as the "Strike-Hard" campaign progresses.

People's Daily Online ---