China to cut number of crimes punishable by death

The revision, if passed, will cut the existing 68 death charges in criminal law by one fifth to 55, and it will be the first major amendment of the law since 1997, China Daily reported on Monday.

Among the 13 death charges (which would see execution removed as punishment), most are seldom applied in recent years, including crime of smuggling relics.

A draft law or amendment usually receives three reviews at the top legislature - the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

Wang Zhenmin, professor of criminal law at Tsinghua University, said the reduction of capital punishment is an inevitable trend and a reflection of the country's social development based on protection of human rights.

The country's longest jail term is proposed to be extended from current 20 years to 25 years. Community-based corrections are to replace the surveillance punishment. The amendment also emphasizes protection of people's livelihood.

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