China eliminates capital punishment

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BEIJING – China on Friday eliminated capital punishment for some economic crimes, as it moved to curb use of the death penalty in a country believed to execute more people than the rest of the world combined. The standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress passed an amendment to the nation’s criminal law that took 13 offences off the list of 68 crimes punishable by death, the legislature said on its website.
“The 13 crimes that have been exempted from the death penalty are mainly economic and non-violent crimes,” Lang Sheng, a parliamentary member, told reporters. “Of course we still have capital punishment and these crimes punishable by death are based on the needs of our economic and social development, the actual situation of social safety,” Lang said, according to an online transcript.
State media said crimes that are now exempt from capital punishment included tax fraud and “carrying out fraudulent activities with financial bills”.Other offences taken off the list included smuggling cultural relics, precious metals and rare animals, as well as “robbing ancient cultural ruins”.
The amendment, which was first submitted in August, also exempts from capital punishment anyone over the age of 75 at the time of trial, unless they have committed murder “with exceptional cruelty”, Xinhua news agency said.