Note, The Death Penalty in Late Imperial, Modern, and Post-Tiananmen China

This paper seeks to explore the crucial determinants that shape the Chinese legal system’s use of the death penalty. Why have the Chinese relied so heavily on execution as a form of sentencing? What factors and conditions account for the major changes in the frequency of China’s use of the death penalty? What indigenous traditions are reflected in China’s implementation of the death penalty? In order to inquire into the role and function of the legal system in affecting the severity of criminal punishment in China, this study will focus on only those death sentences carried out by the state in a judicial context.