China executions halved to 4 000 a year: rights group

13 December 2011 - 08:54 By Sapa-dpa
Nooses. File picture
Nooses. File picture
Image: Robbie Tshabalala

Executions in China have dropped about 50% since 2007 to 4 000 per year, a human rights group estimates.

The number of executions is a state secret in China, but the US-based Dui Hua Foundation based its number on an estimate that the use of the death penalty has been halved since China implemented a requirement in 2007 that all death sentences must be confirmed by the Supreme People's Court.

Although Beijing has introduced several initiatives in recent years to limit the application of the death penalty, it is still thought to execute more convicts every year than the rest of the world combined.

"China has made dramatic progress in reducing the number of executions, but the number is still far too high and declining far too slowly," said John Kamm, Dui Hua's executive director.