“Walking on Thin Ice”

No time to post, but here’s the latest on the changes in China’s death penalty policy:

China’s chief justice is urging extreme caution when imposing the death penalty, state media said, the latest effort apparently aimed at curbing the country’s frequent use of capital punishment.

China, believed to carry out more court-ordered executions than all other nations combined, enacted legislation last week that requires approval from the Supreme People’s Court – the country’s highest – before putting anyone to death.

“In cases where the judge has legal leeway to decide whether to order death, he should always choose not to do so,” Xiao Yang, the court’s president, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday.

“Judges should be very cautious, as if walking on thin ice,” he said.

The death penalty should be reserved for only an “extremely small number'” of serious offenders, Xiao said. The report did not give any details.

Xiao said it was unlikely that the death penalty would be completely abolished:

“The conditions are not yet ripe for China to ban the death penalty,” he said. “It is still a necessary means to ensure the safety of the state and protect the people.”

Good news, though I’d still like to know how the death penalty “ensures the safety of the state.” By scaring the monkey, maybe?

The Discussion: 2 Comments

The conditions are not “ripe” in China to surrender the death penalty? That doesn’t sound good. The comment implies one of two things (or maybe both).

1. Chinese are so uncivilised that they would rip the country to pieces if it wasn’t for fear of being killed by the State.

2. Chinese are so uncivilised that they can’t bear the thought of criminals not being killed – i.e. they somehow take pleasure in the thought of people being killed, forgetting that China’s justice system is a joke (and thus it’s impossible to know how many people are wrongfully killed).

Neither reflects very well on the PRC.

I remember what Michael Howard once said – he was a notorious “hard-liner” Home Secretary in the UK. Before he became HS, he was for the death penalty. Once he had been in the job for a while and realised how many people get wrongly convicted, he became completely opposed to it. to life.

That speaks volumes to me.

November 12, 2006 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

I have to say, from his comments, Xiao doesn’t strike me as blood-thirsty. It sounds to me like they are reserving the death penalty for “crimes against the state” for one.

As I’ve remarked before, I’m against the death penalty on principle (I hate that we have it in the States). I hope this at least reduces the carnage.

November 13, 2006 @ 4:30 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.