China executes nine drug traffickers

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BEIJING - Nine people were executed in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui after they were convicted of trafficking drugs, including heroin and methamphetamines, state media said Tuesday.

The executions were carried out Thursday after approval by the Supreme People’s Court, the Anhui Provincial Higher People’s Court said in a statement quoted on the website of the official China Court News.

The nine were among dozens of people convicted in eight major cases of drug production and trafficking in Anhui, the report said.

Among those executed was Chen Dengkui, 55, who was convicted of leading a gang that produced 56 kg of methamphetamines and sold 27 kg of the drug.

Han Qingfeng and Li Peishen were also executed after they were convicted of trafficking about 10.5 kg of heroin, the report said.

Another person who was sentenced to death was not executed because the case remained “under investigation”, it said without elaborating.

Courts in Anhui handed suspended death sentences to 14 others involved in the eight cases, the report said.

Suspended death sentences are normally commuted to life in prison after two years, subject to good behaviour.

China keeps the number of executions a state secret although some prominent cases are reported by state media, and major drugs cases are usually publicized.

The Dui Hua Foundation, a US-based human rights group, estimated that at least 5,000 people were executed annually in recent years, more than in the rest of the world combined.

The government claims to have limited the use of capital punishment since introducing a mandatory review of all death sentences by the Supreme People’s Court in 2007.

But China retains the death penalty for dozens of offences, including drug trafficking, serious corruption and other non-violent crimes.

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