China is committed to limiting the use of death penalty and has always been very prudent in using capital punishment, an official with the top legislature said Thursday.
The amendment to the Criminal Law, which was passed in 2011, reduced the types of crimes punishable by death by 20 percent, or 13 in number, said Lang Sheng, vice chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, at a press conference during the ongoing parliamentary session.
That a death penalty has to undergo review by the Supreme People's Court is another effort China has made to control and limit the use of capital punishment, he said.
On Jan. 1, 2007, the Supreme People's Court resumed the process of reviewing and approving all death sentences to ensure that lower courts' verdicts are accurate.
"Such a procedure reflects China's prudence in the use of the death penalty," Lang said.
A draft amendment to the nation's Criminal Procedure Law, submitted Thursday to the ongoing 5th session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) for third reading, further specifies the procedures for the Supreme People's Court to review death penalty cases in order that such cases will be handled "with sufficient care" and "legal oversight" will be strengthened.
According to the draft, the supreme court shall issue an order approving or disapproving a death sentence after reviewing it. If the supreme court overrules the death sentence, it may remand the case for retrial or revise the judgement thereof.
Besides, during the reviewing proceedings, the supreme court may question the defendant and the defense attorney's opinions shall be heard if he so requests, according to the amendment.
China's current Criminal Procedure Law was enacted in 1979 and amended in 1996.