Headline News


Least number of death sentences meted out in ´07

Source: Xinhuanet | 03-16-2007 08:59

Special Report:   2007 NPC & CPPCC sessions

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The number of death sentences meted out last year by Chinese courts hit a record low in more than a decade, said Liu Jiachen, a political advisor and former vice president of the Supreme People's Court.

China has seen a gradual decrease of capital crime cases since 1997 and less use of severe punishments including life-long imprisonment, said Liu, who was here attending the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"We can not rely our hope on death penalties to curb crimes. Wemay tackle the increasing criminal cases via many other ways," Liusaid.

"The concept also accords with the world's trend to gradually lighten penalties, which means stringent punishment can be imposedfor only a small number of serious offenders," he said.

About 150,000 people are released every year upon the completion of their sentenced jail terms, he said. However, the former senior judge did not reveal the exact number of death sentences last year.

One of the most important reforms on China's judicial system isthe supreme court's retrieval of right to review and approve deathpenalties.

China's top judge Xiao Yang said on Tuesday the supreme court took back the power to review and ratify all death penalty cases as of Jan. 1, 2007, ending a 26-year practice of letting courts atlower levels to re-check and decide on part of such cases.

Xiao revealed that last year 889,042 people were convicted by courts at all levels across the country, and 153,724 people received sentences of longer than five years, including life imprisonment and death penalty.


Editor:Du Xiaodan