China's revised Criminal Law removes 13 crimes from death penalty list

Beijing, Feb.26 (ANI): Death penalty for thirteen economic crimes have been eliminated in China's revised Criminal Law.

According to the eighth Amendment in the Criminal Law passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, fifty-five crimes will be punishable by death, the China Daily reports.

In order to restructure the penalty system and to protect human rights the country has reduced the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.

"The 13 crimes that have been exempted from the death penalty are mainly economic and non-violent crimes," said Lang Sheng, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

He told that the crimes exempt from capital punishment include tax fraud and "fraudulent activities involving financial bills".

Offences such involving the smuggling of cultural relics or of precious and rare animals have also been removed from the list.

Lang added that the purpose of the amendment is to "temper justice with mercy".

The amendment also specifies that the death penalty will not be imposed on people who are 75 or older at the time of their trials, unless they are convicted of crimes involving "exceptional cruelty".

Earlier the exemptions were allowed for offenders who were below 18 years and women who were pregnant at the time of the trail.

Member of the NPC Law Committee Zhou Guangquan said that the country's tradition of punishing crimes harshly can lead to an overuse of the death penalty, tarnishing China's image for foreign observers.

"But the country is unlikely to abolish the death penalty in one fell swoop, since the total number of criminal cases in China is still in an upward trend", he added.

The bimonthly session also included Vehicles and Vessels Taxation Law and a Law on Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection, which aims at better preserving heritages of historic, literary, artistic or scientific value.

Now the owners of the 199 million vehicles registered in China will have to pay an annual tax levied according to their vehicles' engine capacities.

The law aims to encourage energy conservation and environment protection. (ANI)

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