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Should Death Penalty Be Abolished in China

By applecat2411 Mar 28, 2011 1030 Words
Death penalty, also called capital punishment, is generally known as the ultimate punishment to offenders. As death penalty involves taking one’s life, opposing voices have not been silenced from the worldwide, many protestors unite themselves to form groups or organizations such as Amnesty International and United Nations Human Rights Commission. Because of the effort exerted by these organizations , the belief that capital punishment is wrong have been successfully spread to every corners on the world . Until 2009, more than two-third of the world’s countries have put an end to death penalty in law or in practice, while 58 countries still retain it.[4] Among these 58 countries, China executes more prisoners than sum of the others. In other words, China is the greatest concern when talking about death penalty. Therefore, this essay mainly focuses on the situation in China. Human Rights, being one of the universal values which strongly held by majority of people on the world in great many countries is a convincing point to urge for no more execution of prisoners. According to article 5 of the universal declaration of Human Rights which announced by the United Nations General Assembly, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. [3] In other words, death penalty violates Human Rights. However what could be seen from China is, there is no significant change in the number of executions carried out each year in China. This shows China does not respect Human Rights or only in a small degree of appreciation. Human Rights is not the only tools to battle for a nation that free of brutal punishments, it is not difficult to see wrongful executions in China within past few decades. One typical case could be cited is the victim whose name is Nie Shubin was misunderstood as a murder and sentenced to death in 1995. [2] Everyone knows that it is impossible for a dead person to revive, to back to life. So, surely, wrongful execution could not be rectified in any circumstances. That’s why death penalty should be regarded as an evil because it might takes the life of innocent person. Try to imagine that if Nie was sent to jail instead of being executed, the case may has a favorable turn. Sadly, Nie’s case is just a tip of the iceberg, there were many other cases of injustice occurred in China.[6] To avoid more wrong man on death row, terminating death penalty would be the only way to achieve this. Although it cannot be denied that the argument mentioned above is true, there may be other things which are more important that needed to be taken into consideration. That is also the concern of the Chinese authority when thinking should death penalty be picked out from criminal law of People’s Republic of China. China has a population of 1.3 billion, to regulate the order of such a huge number of nations, the most effective method is to adopt penalty which has deterring effect. [1] Undoubtedly, the nature of capital punishment would be most suitable for fulfilling this requirement. In contrast, sending the delinquent to prison does not help clamping down on serious crime as physiologists have found that many prisoners have a high chance to commit crime again because of psychological distress such as distorted mind and uncontrollable of emotion caused by the torment from prison life. So, death penalty would be an irreplaceable implement to discourage serious crime. Furthermore, cultural factor is also a main focus which to be concerned by Chinese authority. Despite of understanding that abolishing death penalty is a global trend, it doesn’t mean China should follow it, because culture could be different from one nation to another. In fact, capital punishment has long history in China, the source of it can be traced back to Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasty in hundreds decades ago. In the past, death penalty is widely used to prohibit offense to regulations, thousands of prisoners were executed every year. At that time, sentencing a guilty person to death is a practice which deeply rooted in public’s mind, no one would oppose it and this concept passed from generation to generation. That’s why the survey done by the government organization shows 57.8 percent of interviewees agree with carrying out death penalty while only less than 15 percent of them disagree with it. [1] Therefore, the culture of China is generally accepting capital punishment and believing it to be an essential component of having a stable life in a society, that is the value of retaining it in the criminal law. To sum up, the rationales of supporting death penalty are based on violation of Human Rights and occurring of innocent prisoners on death row, while reducing crime rate and culture of China which favor capital punishment are the opposing arguments. Personally, I agree death penalty could continue to use in China only with tight monitoring of each capital cases including whether the charges of delinquent is deserved to die or whether the execution method is too inhumane. I could see China has done a great job in these two aspects because recently it introduced lethal injection which leads a painless death process as well as removed 13 offenses from those eligible for capital punishment after reviewing the degree of seriousness of it.[5] So, I have no worry about death penalty would be an obstacle blocking China growing to be a harmonious country.

[1] Supporting death penalty. Wenweipo. 2011 Mar. Online. Available: [2] L.Zhao. 2005 Mar. The Unjust Murder Case of Nie Shubin Still Hangs Undecided. Nanfang Zhoumo. Online. Available: [3] Hayley P. Mitchell, The Death Penalty. San Dirgo: Greenhaven Press, Inc, 2001, p.27. [4] The death penalty in 2009. Amnesty International. 2010 May. Online. Available: [5] Reducing Death Penalty Crimes in China More Symbol Than Substance. DuiHua Foundation. Fall 2010. Online. Available: [6] Ten cases of injustice in China in 1999. ChinaMonitor. Online. Available:

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