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China high court confirms plan to review all death sentences

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of China [official website in Chinese] Thursday confirmed its plan to remove the authority from lower courts to review death sentences [JURIST report], which is expected to decrease the number of execution sentences currently given and also prevent fatal miscarriages of justice. China [JURIST news archive] has been criticized by international human rights groups for the large number of executions performed in the country, but the impact of the reforms may be difficult to ascertain since Beijing keeps secret the number of people shot or executed by lethal injection. Amnesty International [advocacy website] has reported that there were 200 executions over a two-week period in February, and information from a senior Chinese lawmaker indicates that the actual annual toll could be close to 10,000. A court press release [text in Chinese] announcing the high court's decision said, "Taking back authority for death penalty approval will undoubtedly be of great service in ensuring strict control of its use, setting a unified standard and fulfilling constitutional human rights protections." The court did not give a date for the limits to be imposed. The Financial Times has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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