executions in the world:

In 2017

0

2000 to present

0

legend:

  • Abolitionist
  • retentionist
  • De facto abolitionist
  • Moratorium on executions
  • Abolitionist for ordinary crimes
  • Committed to abolishing the death penalty

CHINA

 
government: Communist state
state of civil and political rights: Not free
constitution: last promulgated on December 4, 1982
legal system: based on civil law system; derived from Soviet and continental civil code legal principles
legislative system: unicameral National People's Congress (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui)
judicial system: Supreme People's Court, judges appointed by the National People's Congress; Local People's Courts; Special People's Courts.
religion: Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, folk religion 21.9%, unaffiliated 52.2%
death row:
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
executions: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed only)

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


situation:
Under the current law, 46 crimes are subject to the death penalty, among which one-third are economic crimes such as corruption and bribery.
On 29 August 2015, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) amended the Criminal Law, eliminating the death penalty for nine crimes, including smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currency; counterfeiting currency; raising funds by means of fraud; arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution; obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties; and fabricating rumours to mislead others during wartime. The maximum penalty for those crimes would become life in prison. The removal of the death penalty from these nine offenses would not put much of a dent in China’s world-leading use of capital punishment, which largely focuses on homicide, rape, robbery, and drug offenses. It would, however, show the government continuing to make good on its pledge to work towards gradual abolition of the death penalty.
Just before passing the amendment to the Criminal Law, the Standing Committee inserted a last-minute provision regarding the offenses of corruption and taking bribes. The provision authorizes courts, in certain cases, to add a condition at the time of sentencing to require an individual to spend life in prison without possibility of sentence reduction or parole. The condition may only be applied in corruption cases where the defendant received a suspended death sentence and had that sentence commuted to life imprisonment after the two-year period of reprieve. Individuals given suspended death sentences can potentially leave prison after serving terms not much longer than the maximum sentence of fixed-term imprisonment, or about 18 years.
The introduction of life without parole in serious corruption cases could clear the way for China to eventually eliminate the death penalty for corruption, but may have wider implications for abolishing the death penalty in China, as in the future it could be extended to other types of crime, including violent offenses.
It was the second time that China reduced the number of crimes that could be subject to death sentence since 1979 when the current Criminal Law took effect. In February 2011, the National People’s Congress passed an amendment to the Criminal Law, reducing the number of crimes punishable by death from 68 to 55. The 13 crimes were economic-related and non-violent offences.
In 2011, it was also stipulated that the death penalty will not be imposed on people aged 75 or older at the time of trial, except if they commit a murder with exceptional cruelty. Previously, only convicts younger than 18 when the crime was committed, and pregnant women at the time of the trial, were exempted from capital punishment.

Officially the World’s Record-holder for Executions (Despite a Continued Reduction)
Although the death penalty remains a State secret in China, some news in recent years, including declarations from official sources, suggest that the use of the death penalty may have diminished compared to preceding years.
A major turnabout came after the introduction of a legal reform on 1 January 2007, which required that every capital sentence handed down in China by an inferior court is reviewed by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC).
The US-based Dui Hua Foundation estimated that China executed approximately 2,400 people in 2015, roughly the same number in 2014 and 2013. This number of executions was a fall of 20 percent from 2012, when Dui Hua estimated that China executed 3,000 people, and a precipitous drop from 6,500 executions in 2007 and 12,000 in 2002.
According to the Dui Hua Foundation, the reduction was likely brought about by: greater use of sentence of death with two-year reprieve (which is nearly always commuted to life imprisonment or a fixed-term sentence), improvements in due process rights recently codified in revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), continued review by the Supreme People’s Court, and the decision to move away from using executed prisoners as the country’s primary “organ donors.”


Policy of “Justice Tempered with Mercy”
On 13 March 2016, in his report to the annual session of the National People’s Congress, the President of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), Zhou Qiang, in keeping with the Government’s customary secrecy, gave no figures for the number of death sentences or executions.
In 2015, local courts at various levels concluded 1,099,205 criminal cases, involving 1,232,695 people, up 7.45 percent and 4.06 percent respectively from the previous year. The criminal courts handled 187,993 cases of violent crimes, showing a drop in most types of offences: intentional murder: 10,187 cases, down 5.81%; intentional assaults: 122,209, down 3.04%; rape: 21,252, down 9.39%; kidnapping: 787, down 24.54%; explosions: 131, down 18.13%; snatching: 6,839, down 12.80%; and robbery: 26,588, down 16.27%. Sentences to five years and more in prison, death sentences or suspended death sentences were imposed on 115,464 people, accounting for 9.37% of those convicted.
In 2015, the Supreme People's Court accepted 15,985 lawsuits and concluded 14,135 cases, rising by 42.6 percent and 43 percent respectively from 2014.
Considering that, since February 2010, the Supreme People’s Court has recommended to use a policy of “justice tempered with mercy,” suggesting to the courts to “suspend the death sentence for two years for all cases that don’t require immediate execution,” it is realistic to conclude that the executions in 2015 were at least 2,400, as estimated by the Dui Hua Foundation.


Supreme Court’s Reforms
The reform, which took effect on 1 January 2007, is considered one of the most significant reforms concerning the death penalty in the last twenty years. It signals a turn-around from the “hit hard” approach taken on in the Eighties that brought the Supreme Court to delegate final decisions regarding capital punishment cases to the lower provincial courts.
According to the new provision, the review of each case should be carried out by three judges of the Supreme Court, who must re-examine all evidence, the laws applied, the appropriateness of the sentence, the arguments of the preceding trial and they must hear the accused in person or by letter before reaching a final decision. If the judges find the evidence insufficient, the sentencing inappropriate or the trial arguments illegal, they present the case to the Judicial Committee of the Supreme Court. The committee examines the case along with a prosecutor from the Office of the Attorney General Supreme of the People.
After the reform of 2007, China has continued to take new measures to limit the number of death sentences and prevent wrongful convictions in capital cases.
In May 2008, China’s Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice jointly issued regulations on the protection of defence lawyers’ roles in capital cases to ensure that defendants’ legal rights were upheld. Some provisions of the regulations include: legal aid institutions must designate lawyers with criminal defence experience in capital cases; lawyers shall not transfer such cases to assistants and must meet the defendant before trial; the Court must inform “interested parties,” lawyers and prosecutors of any date change for court hearings three days ahead of time; the Court must notify lawyers if prosecutors submit new evidence or re-evaluate the case before a re-trial.
In 2011, the Supreme Court recommended the courts to “suspend the death sentence for two years for all cases that don’t require immediate execution.” In normal law practice, a sentence of death with two years’ reprieve is ultimately commuted to lifetime imprisonment after two years. The court has also recommended to “applying the death penalty to a very small minority of criminals committing extremely serious crimes.”
In March 2012, the National People’s Congress, once again, amended the 1979 Criminal Procedure Law, highlighting human rights protection. The new clause requires judges from the Supreme Court to interrogate offenders sentenced to death and listen to defendants’ lawyers when a capital punishment case is under review. The amendment, for the first time, has also made clear that confessions extorted through illegal means, such as torture, and witness testimony and depositions of victims obtained illegally, such as by violence or threats, should be excluded during the trials. To institutionally prevent extortion of confession, the amendment has regulated that suspects be sent to a detention facility for custody after being detained or arrested and be interrogated there. The process of interrogation shall be audio or video-taped.
On 22 January 2015, the Supreme People’s Court reiterated the criteria for capital punishment should be strictly observed so as to ensure “the penalty is only used on an extremely few convicts whose crimes are extremely serious.”

Transparency of Court Proceedings
Acquittals in China’s Communist-controlled court system have been extremely rare in the past, given that almost all of defendants were ever found guilty, according to official statistics. China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.
In 2015, however, Chinese courts "corrected" 1,357 verdicts in 2015, according to chief justice Zhou Qiang’s report to the 2016 session of the National People’s Congress (NPC). A total of 1,039 accused were found innocent by Chinese courts in 2015, Zhou said, compared to 1.232 million who were found guilty – a conviction rate of 99.92 percent, almost exactly the same as the previous year. The country should draw lessons from the acquittals and “improve the mechanisms which can effectively prevent and correct false and wrong cases in a timely manner,” said Zhou, who promised improvements to the legal aid system in 2016, to help those who want to appeal or review their death sentence. In 2015, 31,527 prisoners were released early according to an amnesty decree, which was adopted by the top legislature and signed by President Xi Jinping on 29 August 2015, before a national commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. They included nearly 2,000 war veterans as well as some very old, young or infirm prisoners. "We released all those that are qualified for early release, no one was slipped through," Zhou said. The amnesty was the eighth since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and the first in 40 years after the previous one in 1975.
The year 2015 also saw a surge of cases in which citizens sued the government. Courts heard about 241,000 cases of this kind, a year-on-year increase of 59.2 percent. Prosecutors have strived for "constructive interaction with lawyers," said Procurator-General Cao Jianming when delivering the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) work report at the NPC session. An online system to support defense lawyers was established, which helped them schedule appointments with their clients and file lawsuits, while a database of digital legal documents is available to 29 provincial divisions, helping lawyers access and survey documents easily. In about 1,000 cases, prosecutors stopped authorities from hindering the work of lawyers. Moreover, the SPP is fine-tuning a mechanism to prevent and correct wrong cases, he said. Prosecutors nationwide made significant efforts to ensure procedural justice. They lodged protests against about 6,600 criminal court rulings and about 3,500 civil rulings. They also pushed the police to drop about 10,000 cases and stop them from abusing their power and illegally collecting evidence in about 31,000 cases. About 25,000 suspects were not prosecuted due to lack of evidence or facts to constitute a crime, according to the SPP report. Prosecutors also tightened supervision on the police concerning compulsory measures on suspects. They called on the police to release or ease the custody of nearly 30,000 suspects. The number of suspects, placed in custody for more than three years without being charged, reduced from 4,459 in 2013 to six by 2015.


The War on Drugs
According to China’s Criminal Law, a drug dealer can be sentenced to death for producing, transporting or trafficking more than 50 grams of heroin or one kilogram of opium. Traffickers caught with 150 kilograms of marijuana can also face the death penalty. The most lenient sentence for such a crime is 15 years.
On 7 April 2016, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) released a new judicial interpretation on rules for drug-related convictions and sentencing, stepping up punishments. The document adopted stricter rules for ketamine by lowering the threshold for criminalization of the drug by half. The new document also added 12 new types of illegal drugs to be subject to criminal penalties and lowered the threshold for conviction of illegal use for 33 precursor chemicals.
The March 2016 Supreme Court’s report to the annual session of the National People’s Congress shows that (illegal) drugs are an increasing problem in China. The courts at all levels concluded 139,024 drug-related cases in 2015, an increase of over 30 percent compared to 2014. A total of 137,198 drug defendants were sentenced and almost 20 percent of them received heavy penalties – five years of imprisonment or above, including capital punishment.
The actual number of executions for drug-related crimes is unknown, although it has decreased in 2015-2016 compared to previous years. It is probable that this change is a reflection of the reform passed on 1 January 2007 that passed judicial review of death penalty cases back to China’s Supreme People’s Court, as well as the directive of the same court holding that the death penalty should be imposed on an “extremely reduced number of hardened criminals.”
Regardless, as has long been the case in China, death sentences and executions increased markedly around National holidays and dates of symbolic international importance such as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June.


The “Human” lethal injection
In China, executions are mostly carried out with a shot to the back of the head or the heart from close range.
An amendment to China’s Criminal Procedure Law in 1996 allowed for executions by lethal injection, using the same three-drug cocktail pioneered by the United States. “Lethal injection is considered more humane, because it reduces the fear and suffering,” Chinese authorities said. “It is more acceptable for convicts and their family members.” Hu Yunteng, head of the Supreme People’s Court’s Research Bureau, said that lethal injection was considered cleaner, safer and more convenient than gunshot executions.
Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, was the country’s first city to adopt lethal injection on 28 March 1997.
It is impossible to know how many people have died by this method so far, as execution figures are a State secret in China.
China has also introduced mobile execution units. The units consist of specially-modified vans manned by execution teams and equipped with facilities to put people to death with lethal injections close to the venue of the trials. This removes the need to transfer prisoners to execution grounds, a procedure that requires considerable security measures. Convicts are strapped to gurneys a few minutes after their death sentences become final, the needle is inserted into their arm, a member of the execution team presses a button, and the fatal chemicals are injected into their veins. Executions in death vans are recorded on video and audio that is played live to local law enforcement authorities – a measure intended to ensure they are carried out legally.
Human rights observers believe that the transition from firing squads to injections in death vans would facilitate an illegal trade in prisoners’ organs. Injections leave the whole body intact and require participation of doctors. Organs can be extracted in a speedier and more effective way than if the prisoner is shot.
In the past, human rights’ organisations have denounced the link between the high number of executions in China and the growing demand for organ transplants, accusing the Chinese authorities of forcing those condemned to death to sign authorisations to remove their organs for transplant. The regime admitted in 2005 that it had been harvesting the organs of prisoners on death row, a practice that started in the mid-1980s, and in July 2006 China passed a law banning the sale of organs without the consent of the donor. However, illegal organ harvesting seems to have not decreased. A revision to China’s Criminal Law, which the top legislature adopted in February 2011, marked the first time for authorities to single out criminal activity related to transactions involving human organs. Criminals convicted of “forced organ removal, forced organ donation or organ removal from juveniles” could face homicide charges as a result of the revision. However, in March 2012, then Vice-Health Minister Huang Jiefu confirmed that executed prisoners were still the main source of organs used in transplant operations in China due to the lack of voluntary donations. In December 2014, Huang Jiefu, now head of the Health Ministry’s organ transplant office, said that by 1 January 2015, only voluntarily donated organs from civilians can be used in transplants.
However, organs from prisoners, including those on death row, can still be used for transplants in China, with the full backing of policy makers, according to Chinese news reports. In January 2015, People’s Daily reported that voluntary donations from citizens had become the sole source of organs for transplant. It quoted Dr. Huang Jiefu as explaining: “Death-row prisoners are also citizens, and the law does not deprive them of their right to donate their organs. If death-row prisoners are willing to donate their organs to atone for their crimes, then they should be encouraged.” In March, Dr. Huang told The Beijing Times, “Once the organs from death-row prisoners who have voluntarily donated are included in our national distribution system, they are counted as voluntary citizen donations.” Dr. Huang’s comments, reported in the official Chinese news media in January and March, were cited in The New York Times on 15 November, drawing outrage from medical ethicists and human rights advocates, who have long criticized China’s practice of harvesting organs from death row inmates. They said the comments showed that China never really abandoned the policy, as Mr. Huang had promised it would last December, but instead had simply reclassified prisoners as citizens and continued to take their organs. But Dr. Huang denied that the country’s new organ transplant system allows organs to be harvested from executed prisoners, saying that earlier comments he made suggesting that a loophole allowed the practice to continue had been misconstrued. “I never said that,” Dr. Huang said in an interview. “It is a lie. It distorts my words. The context, the words are from a philosophical level.” “As a doctor, we cannot reject the kindness and the conscience of the prisoners,” he added. “However, on a practical level, we cannot do that, to put them into the civilian donation.”
On 20 June 2016, a new report claimed that thousands of people are being executed in China in secret and their organs harvested for use in transplant operations. The report – by former Canadian lawmaker David Kilgour, human rights lawyer David Matas, and journalist Ethan Gutmann – estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 organs are transplanted each year in Chinese hospitals. The report's findings stand in stark contrast to official figures which put the number of transplant operations at around 10,000 a year. Official figures show that 2,766 volunteers donated organs in 2015, with 7,785 large organs acquired. According to the report, that gap is made up of executed prisoners, many of them prisoners of conscience locked up for their religious or political beliefs, and members of religious and ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, underground Christians, and practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement. According to official statistics, there are more than 100 hospitals in China approved to carry out organ transplant operations. But the report states the authors have "verified and confirmed 712 hospitals which carry out liver and kidney transplants," and claims the number of actual transplants could be hundreds of thousands larger than China reports.


The War on Terror
Since the attacks of 11 September against the U.S.A., the Chinese Government has used the war on terrorism as a pretext to harden its iron fist against all forms of political or religious dissent in the country. Suspected separatists or religious extremists have, for years, risked arbitrary imprisonment, isolation, torture and, at the end of the polluted process, jail or execution. In particular, China passes off repression against Tibetans and the Uyghurs as part of the war on terrorism and exercises pressure on its neighbours such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal and Pakistan to force them to repatriate exiled members of Xinjiang’s Muslim Turkic-speaking Uyghur population. Many of the repatriated Uyghurs have suffered serious violations of their human rights including torture, unfair trials and, also, execution.
On 27 December 2015, China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law that attracted deep concern in Western capitals, not only because of worries it could violate human rights such as freedom of speech, but because of the cyber provisions. While a provision in an initial draft that would require companies to keep servers and user data within China was removed from the final law, technology companies will still have to provide help with sensitive encryption information if law enforcement authorities demand it. The anti-terrorism law also permits the People's Liberation Army to get involved in anti-terrorism operations overseas. The new law also restricts the right of media to report on details of terror attacks, including a provision that media and social media cannot report on details of terror activities that might lead to imitation, nor show scenes that are "cruel and inhuman".
Convictions for state security crimes including "violent terrorism" nearly doubled in 2015, figures from China's top court showed, following a "strike hard" campaign to quell unrest in the largely Muslim region of Xinjiang and crackdowns on civil society. Chinese courts convicted 1,419 on charges related to "endangering national security and violent terrorism" in 2015, Zhou Qiang, head of the Supreme People's Court, said in a report to the annual session of the Communist-controlled National People's Congress (NPC) on 13 March 2016. Chinese courts sentenced 1,084 people for "violent terrorist crimes" and another 335 for other crimes related to "endangering national security". The majority of the convictions seem to be related to Beijing's launch last year of a "strike hard" campaign in Xinjiang aimed at stopping unrest that has claimed hundreds of lives. Since starting the campaign in 2014, the government has jailed hundreds, put scores to death, and perhaps killed hundreds more in police actions that have been widely decried by human rights campaigners.
In 2015, China executed at least 3 Uyghurs for “terrorist attacks”.


The death penalty for nonviolent crimes, political motives and dissent
On 18 April 2016, China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Prosecutor’s Office, the country’s highest judicial authorities, ruled the death penalty will be applicable to corrupt leaders who embezzle funds or accept bribes of over $463,000. The measure aims to clarify the last revision of the Penal Code in November 2015, which did not stipulate the exact quantities for which the death penalty could be applied and left the final decision on the discretion of the judges. The 2015 amendment eliminated references to exact figures and spoke instead of the death penalty for “very large sums of money,” a subjective criterion, which the two authorities have decided to revise in order to avoid confusion. The two bodies say in case the accused cooperates in the investigation and confesses to the crime or returns the embezzled amount, the death penalty could be suspended for two years, which for all practical purposes, amounts to a commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment, which is the most common punishment in graft cases in China. The new regulation also warns that senior officials can be tried for complicity if they do not report corrupt practices of their close colleagues, including family members.
Authorities continued to implement repressive policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and targeted the region’s ethnic Uyghur population. Officials in the XUAR continued to implement a pledge to crack down on the government-designated “three forces” of “religious extremism”, “splittism,” and “terrorism”. Possession of publications or audiovisual materials discussing independence, autonomy, or other sensitive subjects was not permitted.
Chinese courts concluded 50 percent fewer endangering state security (ESS) trials in 2015, according to Dui Hua Foundation’s analysis of data released in the 2016 work report of China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC). Dui Hua believes the decline represents an increase in the use of non-ESS charges to prosecute political activism. Dui Hua estimates that Chinese courts concluded more than 500 ESS trials of the first instance in 2015, compared with more than 1,000 ESS trials in 2014. ESS crimes, which include subversion, inciting subversion, splittism, espionage, and state secrets violations, carry a mandatory supplemental sentence of deprivation of political rights (DPR). The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region typically accounts for the largest percentage of ESS trials of any Chinese region. According to the annual work report of the Xinjiang High People's Court, courts in the autonomous region heard approximately 100 ESS trials in 2015, down from about 300 trials per year in 2014 and 2013. The same work report reveals that trials for the categories of crimes that cover "terrorism" surged 25 percent in 2015. Dui Hua believes that many of the trials for terrorism crimes had previously been handled as ESS trials.


Persecution of adherents to religious and spiritual movements
The Chinese authorities recognise, in concept, freedom of religion as a fundamental human right in the country’s Constitution and as established by principle international treaties. Regardless, religious freedom is sharply curtailed.
In 2015, religious and ethnic minorities remained a key target of repression, in particular religious or spiritual movements not authorised by the State: Protestants and Catholics, Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. The Government has also continued its persecution of so-called “cult” movements, in particular, the Falun Gong.
On 1 January 2007, a new law went into effect “to regulate these religions.” Approved in September 2006 by the Permanent Government Commission for Tibet, rather than guaranteeing religious freedom, the law actually reinforces the power of Chinese officials in restriction, control and repression of religious beliefs.
The level of liberty of worship depends on the region. For instance, in Xinjiang, there is a rigid control exercised over Muslims, whereas, in the rest of the country they enjoy relative freedom. The same is for Buddhists of Inner Mongolia and Tibet as compared to other regions. In Henan, Protestants undergo heavy prosecution, while in Hebei it is the Catholics linked to the Vatican.
According to norms governing religious activity, places of worship must be authorised by the State and it is not uncommon for the police to raid private homes where the faithful have gathered to disrupt the meeting with the excuse that the neighbours were disturbed or that the gathering was otherwise socially disruptive, sometimes arresting participants and forbidding them to meet in the same place again. Saying Mass was once met with harsh punishment such as detention or actual arrest followed by re-education or prison.
In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an increased security presence that followed ethnic clashes in 2009 remained in place, and authorities intensified curbs on Islam in the region.
According to figures released in the annual Xinjiang court report as elaborated by the Dui Hua Foundation, the number of prosecutions for offenses relating to religious activism surged 35.5 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. This is a category offense that can be used to target unauthorized Islamic and Christian groups or “cults”, and includes activities such as distributing religious materials and demonstrations, as welle as cases of challenges to government bans on beard, veils and religious observance.
On 11 March 2015, Heiner Bieledfeldt, special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, criticized China’s crackdown in Xinjiang, highlighting concerns about what he called “disturbing” stories of harassment and intimidation, “for instance, intimidation during Ramadan – children in schools were expected to break their fasting on Ramadan.” He also said that his office has seen no progress in their request to conduct an official visit to China. The last time that was agreed to was in 2004.
Beijing permits the practice only within the framework of the Movement of the Three Autonomies (MTA), born in 1950 after Mao came to power and expelled both foreign and Chinese church leaders from the country. Official records indicate that there are 10 million official Protestants in China, all united by the MTA.
In the past 30 years, however, Protestant house churches have become a major phenomenon, with 50 to 80 million members who meet in homes or otherwise private places to pray, carry out ceremonies and hold assemblies. Their love for free worship has led them to reject official Protestant Churches, guilty in their eyes of “worshipping the party” rather than God. During the same period, Chinese authorities tried to suppress this uncontrolled movement by jailing pastors, torturing believers and destroying homes and places of worship. In 2012, China has launched an all-out campaign against house churches, ministers and believers that should be completed in ten years with the complete annihilation of house churches, the China Aid Association said based on Communist Party sources and documents.
The Government continued its repression of so-called “cults,” in particular, of practitioners of the Falun Gong. Members of the Falun Gong continue to be arrested, detained and there is evidence that points to some dying from torture and other abuses. Members that refuse to abjure their beliefs often suffer cruel punishments in prison or in re-education work camps and extra-judiciary detention centres.
The documentation on abuses is difficult to confirm within the country, particularly for a group that has no public profile. Practitioners living abroad confirm the situation that is the result of State-run persecution that began in 1999. Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – remain unlawfully imprisoned in Chinese labour camps and prisons, the largest single population of prisoners of conscience in the country. Tens of thousands have suffered torture at the hands of police and security agents.
In total, as of 5 June 2016, the official Falun Gong website, en.minghui.org, has recorded 3,906 confirmed deaths of practitioners as a result of various forms of persecution since 1999. Given the difficulty of obtaining information from China, the actual death toll is likely significantly higher.


United Nations
In October 2013, China was reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. On 19 March 2014, in its response to the recommendations received, the Government rejected the following recommendations: continue reform towards eventual abolition of the death penalty, including greater transparency in its use; publish or make available precise information on the identity and number of the individuals currently awaiting execution and of those who were executed; establish a moratorium on the application of the death penalty as a first step to its definitive abolition.
On December 19, 2016 China voted against the UNGA Resolution for a universal moratorium on capital executions.
 

 

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