China executed more people than rest of world combined: AI

The London-based group said it could not determine the exact number of executions in China because the figure is listed as a state secret, but it estimated that China executed thousands of people in 2010 for ''a wide range of crimes that include nonviolent offences and after proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards.''

The number of executions elsewhere, according to the group's annual report, went down from at least 714 people in 2009 to at least 527 in 2010, while at least 23 countries carried out judicial executions in 2010, four more than 2009.

China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United States were four of the G20 countries that executed people last year.

The group acknowledged steps China has taken to reduce executions, including the Supreme People's Court's decision to review all death penalty cases since 2007.
It has overturned an average 10 percent of the cases reviewed.

China has also moved to throw out evidence illegally obtained through torture or coerced confessions and has proposed reducing the kinds of capital crimes and exempting convicts over 75 years of age from being executed.

Still, the group ''challenged the Chinese authorities to publish figures for the number of people sentenced to death and executed each year to confirm their claims there has been a reduction in the use of the death penalty in the country.''

Excluding China, Iran executed at least 252 people, followed by North Korea with at least 60 executions, Yemen with at least 53 and the United States with 46.

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