The death penalty and society in contemporary China

By Wang Yunhai / Punishment ans Society 10(2), 137-151, on 1 January 2008

Why are death penalty provisions, convictions and executions so prevalent in China? This article aims to answer this question by way of defining China as a ‘state power’ based society characterized by a socialist social system. The prevalence of the death penalty in China can be explained in terms of the following factors: first, the death penalty is a political issue of state power; second, the death penalty is a crucial part of criminal policy in a ‘state power’-based society; third, the issue of whether to retain the death penalty is a political rather than a legal matter. The Chinese government has improved its death penalty system in recent years; however, the situation has not fundamentally changed. The future of death penalty policy and practice in China will depend primarily on legal rather than democratic developments. The death penalty serves as a focal point that can help illuminate issues of punishment and society in East Asia. Accordingly, this article will elaborate my theories regarding the death penalty in contemporary China, with the primary intent of elucidating the relationship between punishment and society in China.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list China
  • Themes list Networks,