Death Penalty Reform in China- International Law Context

Qi, Chunfang (2018) Death Penalty Reform in China- International Law Context. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis provides an account of the history and the status quo of the death penalty in China, along with an analysis of its possible reform in the future. It begins by looking at the history of the use of the death penalty in China from the pre-Qin-Han era to the present. It revolves around consideration of the international law context, the drawbacks of and challenges to the Chinese legal system concerning the use of the death penalty and the would-be approaches to death penalty reform in China against the background of the global abolition movement. It examines the debates between reformists/neo-liberal cosmopolitans and conservatives in Chinese legal history from the end of the Qing dynasty to present-day China. Concerning the international law context, this thesis analyses how China treats international treaties, especially capital punishment related human rights treaties (mainly the ICCPR), on the legislative and judicial level. It studies the factors that have influenced the abolition movement in European countries. The thesis examines the Chinese Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law to find challenges and gaps concerning the use of the death penalty between the Chinese legal system and the requirements of international human rights treaties. It also analyses case studies and empirical studies of capital crimes. Subsequently, the work outlines a number of alternative punishments to the death penalty and possible approaches to reform. It also analyses the present impetus for reform of the death penalty in China from a socio-economic perspective. The thesis further examines Chinese public opinion concerning the reform/abolition of the death penalty, as reflected in various surveys conducted by the author herself, as well as other Chinese or foreign scholars, for which a detailed analysis is provided in Appendix 6. Finally some possible suggestions and solutions are provided for the future reform of the death penalty in China.

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