The Debate Over the Death Penalty in Today’s China

By Zhang Ning / China perpectives, on 1 January 2005

Despite the sensitivity of the subject, the death penalty is currently a topic of public discussion among Chinese legal experts who are now openly wondering about its possible abolition. This debate is of interest on three counts. First, it goes hand-in-hand with a retrospective reading of the Chinese penal tradition, highlighting the succession of attempts at modernising criminal law for over a century. It also shows the ever present weight of the Maoist legacy and the contradictions of the present policy, caught between a concern for legality and continuing recourse to exceptional measures. Lastly, legal professionals and theorists alike are engaging in a review—based on specific cases—of the particular features of contemporary Chinese society and culture.

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