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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
China 'outstrips world' on executions
Drug traffickers being executed in China
Some prisoners are executed publicly
China executed more people in the last three months than the rest of the world did in the past three years, the human rights group Amnesty International says.

In a report published on Friday, the London-based group said China has put people to death not just for violent crimes, but also for offences such as bribery, embezzlement and stealing gasoline.

"The campaign is nothing short of an execution frenzy, a huge waste of human life," it says.

Ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang have been executed for subversion
Using figures tallied from publicly available reports, Amnesty International said that since an anti-crime campaign, Strike Hard, was launched in April, China has carried out at least 1,781 executions and passed 2,960 death sentences.

In contrast, Amnesty International counted 1,751 executions in the rest of the world over the past three years.

But only a fraction of death sentences and executions in China are publicly reported and the actual number of people put to death is far higher, the group said.

'Cutting corners'

Amnesty International expressed fears that in their rush to produce results for the anti-crime drive, authorities risk executing innocent people.

Police and prosecutors have been urged to cut corners to secure quick arrests and trials, it said.

In southern Hunan province, police reported solving 3,000 cases in two days in April, Amnesty International said.

And in south-western Sichuan province, police reportedly said they apprehended 19,446 people in six days.

Public executions

"The potential for miscarriages of justice, arbitrary sentencing and the execution of innocent people is immense," the group said.

Most executions in China take place after sentencing rallies in front of massive crowds in sports stadiums and public squares.

Prisoners are also paraded through the streets past thousands of people on the way to execution by firing squad in nearby fields or courtyards, it said.

Death penalty crimes
Violent crime
Drugs offences
Aiding Tibet border crossings
Tax fraud
Insurance fraud
Stealing petrol
Selling harmful foodstuffs
Disrupting the stock market

A rally in Yunnan province was reportedly broadcast live on state television.

Originally targeted at organised and violent crime, Chinese authorities have greatly expanded the scope of the campaign to include other offences and some political activities.

In Xinjiang autonomous region, in western China, where militant Muslims are fighting Chinese rule, authorities have executed people accused of separatism, Amnesty International said.

And other regions have reportedly executed people for fraud, forging currency and "disrupting the stock market" in an effort to curb economic crime before China joins the World Trade Organisation.

Olympic bid

Hundreds of people have also been executed for drug offences under the slogan "treasure life, reject drugs," Amnesty International said.

The report was released one week before the International Olympic Committee votes on whether Beijing will host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Critics say Chinese human rights abuses make Beijing unfit to host the games.

Chinese officials argue that political considerations should not be used to judge Beijing's Olympic bid.

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See also:

27 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
Mass execution in China
08 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
China executes seven for forgery
31 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
China opts for lethal injection
19 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
China executes 11 Uighurs
11 Jun 01 | Americas
Death penalty worldwide
06 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China executions 'part of culture'
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