27 February 2006 :the number of executions in China is a state secret, but Liu Renwen, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he agreed with estimates in academic circles that the figure was likely to be about 8,000 a year.
With the judicial system under scrutiny after a series of widely publicised wrongful convictions, the Supreme Court has also moved to reclaim its right to final review of death sentences, but Liu said the policy was meeting resistance from lower courts.
"When the Supreme Court can take this power back is still a question," Liu told foreign correspondents.
"Local governments think it is a good tool to control public security. If they lose such power they think of course it would not be good," he said.
Liu said China's annual session of parliament, which opens on March 4, was unlikely to make headway in legal reforms or to enshrine the Supreme Court's efforts to be the only court to handle death penalty cases.