Beijing: Under fire from rights groups for carrying out world's highest number of executions, China is all set to scrap death penalty for nine crimes, including smuggling weapons and nuclear materials while reinforcing punishments for terrorism related crimes.
According to the draft amendment being piloted in China's parliament, National People's Congress, the nine crimes to be removed from death penalty include smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currencies, counterfeiting currencies, raising funds by means of fraud, arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution, obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties, fabricating rumors during wartime.
After removing the death penalty for such crimes, those convicted will face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The draft amendment is another move by China to limit the use of the death penalty following a decision at a key meeting of the Communist Party of China last year to gradually reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty, said Li Shishi, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.
The move came after a report by US-based?rights group Dui Hua estimated that approximately 2,400 people in China were executed last year. The figure was a fall of 20 per cent from 2012, and a fraction of the 12,000 in 2002.
China never releases figures for the number of citizens it executes annually.
Observers say the executions are coming down because all death sentences now have to go to the Supreme People's Court for review.
In its stipulations against terrorism, the new amendments, however, added several crimes to the current law to crack down more heavily on terrorism.
Those promoting terrorism and extremism by producing and distributing related materials, releasing information, instructing in person or through audio, video or information networks will face more than five years in prison in serious cases. Those who instigate violent terror activities will also face the same punishment, the draft bill said.
Those who instigate or force people to damage legal systems including marriage, justice, education and social management will be sentenced to more than seven years in prison in extremely serious cases.