China’s government is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its use of the death penalty, slowly shifting the country’s legal system away from centuries of authoritarian tradition and toward greater legal protection for individual rights.
Beijing classifies the number of people it puts to death as a state secret, but it’s believed to be nearly as much as all other countries combined. The human-rights group Amnesty International says China executed more than 1,700 people in 2008.
Legal experts are watching the case of a man in southern China who was sentenced to death three times — and then spared execution three times — to see whether recent legal reforms will save his life.
In 1983, Beijing wanted to punish criminals faster, so it gave provincial courts the final say over executions. It took back that prerogative three years ago.
Excerpt, read the entire article here: Executions in China Under Growing Scrutiny – by Anthony Kuhn | NPR