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China to allow death penalty for sabotaging electricity supply

[JURIST] The Supreme People's Court of China [official website] has determined that the death penalty can be ordered in cases where a defendant is convicted of sabotaging electricity supply in a manner which leads to serious injury of at least three people or the death of at least one person. In a new judicial interpretation [press release, in Chinese] made public Monday, the court has also authorized the death penalty when damaging the power supply causes direct economic losses over $131,500, a loss of power for six hours or longer that results in disruption of industrial production or service to more than 10,000 households, or when the sabotage causes "other serious consequences" that harm public safety. Defendants convicted of negligently damaging the power supply now face up to seven years in jail. The new guidelines take effect Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Chinese officials said the government planned to lesson the number of executions carried out in the country, and the Supreme Court last month said that guidelines for imposing the death penalty would be standardized [JURIST reports]. According to Amnesty International, China executes more prisoners than any other country [press release], but government statistics released in June indicate that China's use of the death penalty is declining [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, a Chinese Communist Party spokesperson defended the use of the death penalty [JURIST report] in political and economic corruption cases, saying it was both appropriate and effective. AP has more. Xinhua has local coverage.

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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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