Is the Death Penalty an Asian Value?

By Sangmin Bae / Asian Affairs, on 1 January 2008

Since World War, a growing number of countries around the world have joinedthe movement to abolish capital punishment. Asia remains the exception and ithas been argued by some Asian leaders that the abolition of capital punishmentis in conflict with “Asian values” and that the abolitionist argument constitutesan illegitimate interference in what is essentially a domestic concern. Thisarticle reviews the death penalty in the context of international human rightsand examines the Asian values argument. Reviewing the teachings of Confuciusand other Asian philosophers, it suggests that the ongoing use of the deathpenalty in Asia is not rooted in intrinsic cultural traditions, but in fact is tiedto internal political decisions. The Asian values argument has been largelyused as a means to maintain political legitimacy, and not anything inherent tocultural factors.

  • Document type Article
  • Themes list Networks,