Death Penalty Lessons from Asia

By David T. Johnson / Franklin E. Zimring / Asia-Pacific Journal, on 1 January 2009

Part one of this article summarizes death penalty policy and practice in the region that accounts for 60 percent of the world’s population and more than 90 percent of the world’s executions. The lessons from Asia are then organized into three parts. Part two describes features of death penalty policy in Asia that are consistent with the experiences recorded in Europe and with the theories developed to explain Western changes. Part three identifies some of the most significant diversities within the Asian region – in rates of execution, trends over time, and patterns of change – that contrast with the recent history of capital punishment in non-Asian locations and therefore challenge conventional interpretations of death penalty policy and change. Part four discusses three ways that the politics of capital punishment in Asia are distinctive: the limited role of international standards and transnational influences in most Asian jurisdictions; the presence of single-party domination in several Asian political systems; and the persistence of communist versions of capital punishment in the Asia region.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list China
  • Themes list Death Penalty,