BEIJING — China, which executes more people each year than any other country, said yesterday it is considering dropping capital punishment for economic crimes.
A draft amendment to the country’s criminal code proposes cutting 13 “economy-related, nonviolent offenses’’ from the list of 68 crimes punishable by the death penalty, the official Xinhua New Agency said.
The draft was submitted for a first reading to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. A draft usually has two or three readings before it is voted on.
Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the US-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation, said the draft was welcome but was unlikely to reduce the number of executions because it targets crimes that seldom, if ever, have the death penalty applied to them.
Critics say the death penalty in China is used to punish too many crimes and is applied too often.
They also say the judicial system is overly secretive in deciding on death penalty cases.
The draft includes a proposal to abolish the death sentence for people 75 years of age and older, which Rosenzweig said was largely symbolic because there were so few death sentences for criminals in that age group.