The Chinese Human Rights Web:

Topical Areas & News: Death Penalty

The Chinese Human Rights Reader

Supplementary Texts

Topical Areas & News


UN and Governmental Documents and Links

Materials and Links for Activist Organizations

Academic Study

Search & Site Index

This area of the website contains focused summaries of issues and materials relevant to current themes and scholarly events. Access to these materials is via the tabs below.


Death Penalty


Death Penalty

The death penalty is used extensively in China. It can be imposed for a total of 68 different crimes, including economic crimes. Amnesty International recorded 2,088 death sentences and 1,263 confirmed executions in China during 1999. Between April of 2001, when the latest anti-crime campaign was launched, and July, at least 1,781 people were executed in China and 2,960 people were sentenced to death.

Articles of particular relevance to the death penalty in China include:

  • Stephen B. Davis, 'The Death Penalty and Legal Reform in the PRC,' Journal of Chinese Law 1:3 (1987), pp. 303-334
  • Andrew Scobell, 'The Death Penalty in Post-Mao China' China Quarterly 123 (September 1990), pp. 503-520
  • Michael Palmer, 'The People's Republic of China' in P. Hodgkinson and A. Rutherford (eds.) Capital Punishment - Global Issues and Prospects, Winchester, 1996, pp. 105-141
  • C. Howie, 'Chinese Critiques of the Ultimate Penalty,' China Rights Forum (Fall 1996)
  • Jeremy T. Monthy, 'Internal Perspectives on Chinese Human Rights Reform: The Death Penalty in the PRC' Texas International Law Journal 33:189, 1998, pp. 189-226.
  • A CECC report on the execution of a Tibetan. (See the Government section of the website for more on the CECC.)

For a selection of articles on the death penalty by Chinese and European experts, see:

  • Manfred Nowak and Xin Chunying, EU-China Human Rights Dialogue. Proceedings of the Second EU-China Legal Expert Seminar held in Beijing on 19 and 20 October 1998, Wien: Verlag Österreich, 2000, pp. 67-120.

Over the years there have been many reports on the harvesting and selling of organs from executed prisoners.

  • In 2001, an exposure of this practice was published in a Chinese newspaper, which led to the dismissal of the journalist in question; see this Washington Post article.
  • For two other articles on organ trafficking, see these articles from New York Times, published in October and November, 2001, respectively.

Finally, for general information on the death penalty worldwide, see this website.


Site established: 6/20/2001
Last update: 6/23/08
Copyright © 2001 by Stephen C. Angle and Marina Svensson, and M.E. Sharpe, Inc. Permission is hereby granted for all non-commercial uses of these materials.