China: Death Penalty for Damage to Grid

China says it will execute people who sabotage the electricity supply, reversing recent steps to rein in widespread use of the death penalty, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday.

China: Death Penalty for Damage to Grid
Under a new legal interpretation by the Supreme People's Court, death can be ordered in extremely serious cases where people are killed or injured, Xinhua reported.

Executions can also be ordered when direct economic losses exceed $131,500, when power is cut for six hours or longer, affecting industrial production or more than 10,000 households, or where there are "other serious consequences that endangered public security," Xinhua said.

Those causing damage to power supplies through negligence can also be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, the report said.

Xinhua and the court's official newspaper gave no explanation as to what prompted the legal interpretation or how serious a problem the sabotage of power supplies is in China.

Chinese official media report occasionally on cases where power cables are stolen for the copper they contain.

The order follows recent attempts to reform application of the death penalty, which is frequently applied for a broad range of crimes from bribe-taking to murder.

The Supreme People's Court took back the sole right to approve executions at the beginning of the year, and has said death sentences should be carried out only in the most egregious cases. Last month, the court said it would crack down on the uneven application of the death penalty in different regions.

However, justices have ruled out eliminating the death penalty altogether and continue to order it even for nonviolent crimes. Last month, a former director of the country's food and drug agency was executed for approving fake medicine in exchange for cash.

Chinese courts are believed to order about 80 percent of the world's court-ordered executions -- at least 1,770 people in 2005 and possibly many more.

AP
Last Mod: 21 Ağustos 2007, 22:55
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