China Foreign Nationals and the Death Penalty Death Penalty Overview access to effective legal counsel, to arbitrary convictions and death sentences. China is amongst the world’s most proli c executing states. Although statistics on the use of the death penalty are considered a classi ed in China, all estimates suggest that China executes thousands of people every year. Amnesty International estimate that the number of executions in China may be more than in all other retentionist countries combined. This state secrecy also means China’s death penalty is characterised by a lack of regulation and in all likelihood falls far short of international human rights standards. The death penalty can be imposed for many offences, including treason, arson, murder and manslaughter, rape, kidnapping and human traf cking, as well as for robbery, smuggling and drug traf cking. fi fi fi fi fi Frequent and signi cant fair trial violations permeate the Chinese legal system, from a high probability of torture used as a means to elicit confessions, an inability to gain While some argue that the Chinese government has taken some steps towards limiting the use of the death penalty by both reducing executions and reducing the number of capital offences, this has not had a meaningful impact on the number of death sentences and executions that have been enforced. Public opinion is said to be largely in favour of the death penalty. While some data may reveal that death sentences are declining, the proportion of capital sentences meted out for drug-related offences are on the increase. In fact, China executes more women for drug offences than any other country in the world. Foreign Nationals Foreign nationals, especially those from Western countries, are often used in hostage diplomacy in China and death sentences may be issued in order to use death row prisoners as political pawns to further China’s aims abroad.

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