China's condemned prisoners are likely to be executed with a lethal injection rather than the previously preferred method of a gunshot to the back of the head, under a new plan publicized on Thursday.
|File photo shows a Chinese policeman standing guard outside Beijing's No. 2 Intermediate Court (Photo: AFP)|
The vice president of the Supreme People's Court, Jiang Xingchang, said authorities intended to expand the use of lethal injection to eventually replace gunshot killings, according to the China Daily newspaper.
"(Lethal injection) is considered more humane and will eventually be used in all intermediate people's courts," the paper quoted Jiang as saying.
China keeps the number of people it kills a secret, but international rights group Amnesty International has said more people are executed in the Asian nation than the rest of the world combined.
At least 1,010 people were executed in China in 2006, out of a global total of 1,591, Amnesty estimated, based on public reports.
"These figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Credible sources suggest that between 7,500 to 8,000 people were executed (in China) in 2006," Amnesty said in a report on its website.
China claims that fewer people are being executed following a rule introduced in January last year ensuring the Supreme People's Court, the country's highest judicial body, reviews every execution order.
The chief justice of the court, Xiao Yang, was also quoted in the China Daily as saying China was working towards "strictly limiting" capital punishment.
But abolishing it was unrealistic because people in China believe in the concept of an "en eye for an eye and a life for a life", Xiao was quoted as saying.