First executions in Chengdu after shift to lethal injection

Updated: 2008-03-13 10:44

The intermediate people's court of southwest China's Chengdu city used lethal injections to terminate the lives of several convicts of murders and fraud after the court decided to stop applying gunshot executions from March 1st this year.

The local Chengdu Daily reports on Thursday the executions, ratified by the Supreme People's Court (SPC), were carried out on early Tuesday morning.

The court made full preparations before the executions, including readjusting the facilities and procedures and offering relevant trainings to police and forensic personnel. The court has also carried out trials on the procedures to make sure the convicts die a peaceful and painless death, the report says.

The decision to replace gunshot executions in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province, came after a 10-year-long trial of the application of the injection, early reports say.

Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, was the country's first city to adopt lethal injection in 1997, followed by the cities of Changsha, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Shenyang in the past 11 years.

Jiang Xingchang, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), told China Daily in January that half of the country's 404 intermediate people's courts - which carry most of the executions - use lethal injections.

"It is considered more humane and will eventually be used in all intermediate people's courts." Jiang said without revealing a timetable.

To achieve the goal, the SPC will allocate the toxin used in the injection to local courts under strict supervision, he added. Currently, court officials have to come to Beijing for the toxin.

An amendment to the country's Criminal Procedure Law in 1996 made executions by lethal injection an option.

Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court and chief justice, said in his work report to the 11th session of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Monday that the SPC has been working to ensure that capital punishment only applies to the very few number of felons who committed extremely serious, atrocious crimes that led to grave social consequences.

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