Sources of Variation in Pro-Death Penalty Attitudes in China: An Exploratory Study of Chinese Students at Home and Abroad

By Lening Zhang / Terance D. Miethe / Hong Lu / Bin Liang / British Journal of Criminology, on 1 January 2006

This paper examines Chinese students’ attitudes about the death penalty in contemporary China. Drawing upon Western public opinion research on the death penalty, samples of Chinese college students at home and abroad are used to explore the magnitude of their pro-death penalty attitudes and sources of variation in these opinions. Both groups of Chinese students are found to support the death penalty across different measures of this concept. Several individual and contextual factors are correlated with pro-death penalty attitudes, but the belief in the specific deterrent effect of punishments was the only variable that had a significant net effect on these attitudes in our multivariate analysis. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this study for future research on public opinion about crime and punishment in China.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list China
  • Themes list Public opinion, Public debate,