In a report published on Monday titled “New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China”, the government says authorities “strictly control the death penalty and employ it with prudence”. In 2011, China, which is believed to have executed more convicted people than the rest of the world combined, abolished the death penalty for 13 non-violent offences, which included smuggling of cultural relics, wildlife products, and special metals. Before 1997, the killing of pandas was also a capital offence. The current law allows for the death penalty for dozens of offences – such as treason, separatism, spying, arson, murder, rape, robbery, and human trafficking.
The white paper also noted China’s ‘special actions’ taken to combat human trafficking, particularly involving women and children.
The number of executions in China is not known because such data is considered a state secret.