By Erik Crouch
Image via Stephen Conn
A new report by Amnesty International again places China as the world’s leading executioner, although a lack of public data makes it impossible to say exactly how many were killed in 2012. Everyone’s favorite will-they-won’t-they execution couple, Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai are still alive and kicking, but the same can’t be said for the estimated thousands who received capital punishment in the country last year. Amnesty’s 2012 report states that China was host to “more executions than the rest of the world put together.”
Amnesty’s biggest beef with China’s executions is their lack of transparency regarding the decision making process leading to the noose. The report states:
Death sentences continued to be imposed after unfair trials and for offences, such as drug-trafficking or financial crimes, that did not meet the threshold of “the most serious crimes” [required for a death sentence. […]
[Proposed legislation] would make it mandatory to record or videotape interrogations of suspects potentially facing the death penalty or life imprisonment. They would require the courts, prosecutors and the police to notify legal aid offices to assign a defense lawyer to all criminal suspects and defendants who face potential death sentences. […] Legal scholars within China have called for greater clarification to establish beyond douby in the law that legall aided defense is available at all stages in the process.
The biggest news—other than the body count—about China’s 2012 executions was the government’s decision to end involuntary organ donations from executed prisoners. Cheery stuff.