The main goal of China’s justice system is to protect the interest of the state, not the individuals. If in the United States, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty, in China, the accused is usually considered guilty until proven otherwise. Although there is not much difference between the laws in China and that of the western countries, these laws are just ignored. People with power and connections are considered above the law.
China’s Capital Punishment History
While most people consider capital punishment in China today as cruel, it is actually more “humane” now compared to its original ways dating back thousands of years ago. And the person responsible for the harsh punishments in China is the political philosopher Shang Yang (390-338 BCE) who was one of the founders of Chinese Legalism. He is known for advocating on a strong judicial system in ancient China. He authored the legalist law wherein the cruelest punishments are given to the “enemies of the state” accused of high treason. Sadly for him, he got a dose of his own medicine after the new ruler of China ordered the nine familial exterminations against him and his family for fomenting rebellion. After he was killed in a battle, King Hui of Qin ordered Yang to be executed by jūliè (dismemberment). His corpse was fastened to five chariots, cattle or horses and torn to pieces. If you didn’t believe in karma then, you should start believing now.
Nowadays, China employs two methods of execution; by firing squad for crimes like murder and by lethal injection for economic crimes. Some provinces of China no longer use the firing squad method. China uses the same three-drug cocktail introduced by the U.S. The execution style, however, is unique because it is done in ‘execution vans’ or a mobile execution unit. Death sentences are carried out without moving the prisoner to an execution ground. Inside the van, the prisoner is strapped to a stretcher and executed.
China vs. Drug Smuggling
China’s Criminal Law consider drug smuggling as one of the most serious crimes, thus the most severe punishment is usually served. Even 50 grams of heroin is enough to get capital punishment. Being a close neighbor of the “Golden Triangle,” a region known for growing opium, China became a transit country for global heroin market from producers to consumers internationally.
Is China’s justice System ‘just’?
According to the Human Rights Amnesty International, “Many death sentences are issued after ‘confessions’ that have been obtained through torture.” Out of 23 countries which have been known to have performed executions in 2016, China has the highest number of executions with more than a thousand executions followed by Iran with 567 executions recorded according to Amnesty International. Those numbers are far too big compared to the 20 executions done in the United States that same year.
The numbers may sound horrifying to the rest of the world, but according to the Dui Hua Foundation majority of people in Guangdong province are still in favor of the death penalty.
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