China

RetentionistLegal status of the death penalty*
1500Number of individuals currently under sentence of death
2000Executions in 2021
4000Executions in 2020
2000Executions in 2019

2021Last known execution
Shooting, Lethal InjectionMethod(s) of execution
YesParty to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
NoParty to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
Not applicableParty to the American Convention on Human Rights
Not applicableParty to the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): cosponsor
AgainstUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): vote
YesUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): has signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): cosponsor
AgainstUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): vote
YesUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): has signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation
NoDoes the country have a mandatory death penalty?
2021-08-30Last update


Source: Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide
*Source of classification: Amnesty International

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on 22 March 2022


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In this report, we summarise the current international position on clemency and the death penalty and compare it to snapshots of the clemency processes in the following Southeast and East Asian countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and China. All references to clemency in this paper are in the context of reprieve from the death penalty.

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Note verbale dated 13 September 2019 from the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

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The Permanent Missions to the United Nations inNew York listed below have the honour to refer to General Assembly resolution 73/175, entitled “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”, which was adopted by the Assembly on 17 December 2018 by a recorded vote. The Permanent Missions wish to place on record that they are in persistent objection to any attempt to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty or its abolition in contravention of existing stipulations under international law, for the following reasons:

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The Chinese government continues to conceal the extent to which capital punishment is being used in China, despite more than four decades of requests from UN bodies and the international community and despite the Chinese authorities’ own pledges to bring about increased openness in the country’s criminal justice system. This report focuses on the extent to which the authorities maintain near absolute secrecy over the death penalty system, while using partial and generally unverifiable disclosures to claim progress and reject demands for greater transparency.

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