Chinese government should abolish capital punishment due to both human rights issues and law problems.

Published on 2014 - 04 - 18

by Su Xianjun, Me, Lv Shize, Wang Xinting

On January 18, 2005, Wang Shujin, who was guilty of rape and robbery,was arrested by police in Henan. At the trial,he confessed the crime, which was previously considered committed by another person, Nie Shubin. The latter was arrested on August 5, 1994, and was sentenced to death on March 15, 1995. It was too late for police to correct their mistakes because Nie Shubin should have his full life but the capital punishment robbed it of him. That being the case, then what’s the meaning of capital punishment if life imprisonment have equal effect on reduce crimes?

One reason to against capital punishment is that innocent people may be putted to death by mistake. At The Death House Door is a documentary film which tells a story that a person is wrongfully executed. It is noteworthy that this is not an uncommon case. According to statistics, from 1973 to 1995, every 8 or 7 executed death rows , there is one innocent death row in America. ( A Broken System, partⅡ: Why There Is So Much Error in Capital Cases, and What Can Be Done About It, p377). In addition, capital punishment is irreversible, which means once an innocent person is executed, he/she will never come back to life. With such a high rate of misjudging, continuing using capital punishment will inevitably cause more tragedies.

Along with the misjudgment problems, capital punishment is also believed to be the worst violation of human rights, because the right to live is most important for a human being. As Shakib Qortbawi, former Minister of Justice of Lebanon put it in 11 October 2013: "The right to life precedes everything. The primary aspect of human rights is the right to life. There is no correlation between the death penalty and decreasing crime rate. "

Capital punishment is also inappropriate in current Chinese law environment. Currently, Chinese law system is neither completed nor effective, moreover, Chinese department of justice and courts are not actually independent, plus there being no jury, the judgement can not always be fair. Therefore, capital punishment can be easily abused in China. Back in 2010, Chongqing, during the so-called "gang crackdown" period, at least 57 person was sentenced to death or death with reprieve."It's not about the rule of law, it's not about the legal process," says Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese leadership and research director at the Brookings Institution's John L. Thornton China Center, "It's a political campaign, and it's purely Cultural Revolution – style. "