Criminal law

Updated: 2010-08-31 13:27
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Criminal law

Editor's note: The proposed amendment to the Criminal Law moved to drop the death penalty for 13 economy-related non-violent crimes, and it may establish new crimes to cope with drunk driving. This represents a substantive step toward implementing the law-making ideal of combining leniency with severity. The amendment to the Criminal Law is not only closely related to people's daily life, but also in the line with the expectations of a modern society to have an advanced legal system. 


Criminal law

13 economic crimes may lose capital punishment

China's top legislature moved to drop the death penalty for 13 economy-related non-violent crimes in the latest amendment to the Criminal Law.

If passed, it will be the first time the number of crimes subject to the death penalty has been reduced since the People's Republic of China enacted its Criminal Law in 1979.

It will also be a major move by China to limit the use of the death penalty, after the Supreme People's Court (SPC) began to review all death penalty decisions in 2007.

Capital penaltyCriminal law

We understand the legislative authorities' justification of the need for the death sentence in our criminal code-some of the most dangerous threats to public well-being call for the harshest of penalties as the ultimate deterrent. On the other hand, there is the widening consensus that the scope of its application must be strictly controlled.

Removing the death sentence from such crimes will honor the authorities' promise to gradually reduce the use of the capital penalty.

Death penalty proposal meets opposition

A proposal to abolish the death penalty for 13 economic crimes is facing opposition from some members of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

"Economic crimes are on the rise in China at the moment. So it might not be a good time to abolish capital punishment for such crimes, especially those that have a negative social effect," said Cong Bin, an NPC Standing Committee member and professor at the Hebei Medical University, during a group discussion.

"Harsh punishment needs to be meted out to ease public indignation for financial crimes, which usually involve large amounts of money and carry a negative social effect," Cong said.

However, legal experts argued that the "deterrent effect is being overstated".

"Blindly worshipping capital punishment results in a high execution rate," said Liu Wenren, a criminal law expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

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