On October 10, 2021, the international community marked the 19th World Day Against the Death Penalty. The World Day this year was dedicated to women who risk being sentenced to death, who have received a death sentence, or who have been executed. China does not publish disaggregated data on gender and the use of the death penalty. It is unclear how the death penalty impacts on women. However, in a recent study, the overwhelming majority of women sentenced to death for drug-related offences were given suspended death sentences. This type of death sentence is unique to China.

The death sentence in China may be given with notice of immediate execution or suspended for two years. The Rights Practice has produced a briefing paper which sets out the differences in these death sentences and the range of factors that may be considered at sentencing. This is an important element in understanding the death penalty in China. Increased use of the suspended death sentence has reduced executions but we have concerns that it is also associated with higher risks of miscarriages of justice.

Download the full briefing paper here: Use of the Death Penalty: Sentencing