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China retains title as ‘world's top executioner,’ says Amnesty Intl. death penalty report

China is believed to have executed thousands of people last year

Map of countries practicing capital punishment in 2018 (Image/Amnesty International)

Map of countries practicing capital punishment in 2018 (Image/Amnesty International)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The number of global executions dropped to a record low in 2018 compared to a decade ago, with only 690 confirmed cases last year, excluding state executions carried out in China.

China remains the world's leader in capital punishment, believed to have carried out thousands of executions in 2018, far outpacing numbers for the all other countries combined – the exact figure is classified as a state secret.

According to the report released by Amnesty International (AI) published on April 10, the top five countries for the number of deaths carried out last year includes China (1,000s), Iran (253+), Saudi Arabia (149), Vietnam (85+), and Iraq (52+).

With China excluded, 78 percent of all reported executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq, the report shows. A total of 142 countries, or more than two-thirds, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Nine countries in the Asia-Pacific implemented executions, while Taiwan and Thailand resumed executions after hiatuses. Indonesia maintained a hiatus without any executions for the second year.

Taiwan handed down three death sentences, on charges of homicide and arson. A man surnamed Li (李宏基) was executed in 2018 for being convicted of killing his ex-wife and daughter. At the end of the year, 42 people were on death row in the island country, the report indicated.