The Chinese government is considering scrapping nine crimes from the current list of 55 crimes punishable by execution, state media reported yesterday.
The proposal would see the maximum punishment for these nine crimes change to life imprisonment, The New York Time relays.
The crimes include counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising, forcing others into prostitution, “obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties,” “fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime,” and smuggling ammunition, counterfeit currency, nuclear materials or weapons, Xinhua said.
The change, which was proposed before the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Monday, would follow China’s decision to drop the death penalty for 13 offenses back in 2011, a move that was seen as highly symbolic due to the generally nonviolent nature of the crimes.
A 2014 report from Amnesty International placed China as the world’s leading executioner, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US. As was the problem with previous years, however, Amnesty was unable to estimate an exact number of executions in China due to a lack of transparency and a lack of data released by the government. The Da Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group, estimated that about 2,400 people were sentenced to death last year, based on published sentences and cases reported in Chinese media.
[Image via Stephen Conn]