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July 29, 2010

Interesting chart of world-wide execution numbers for 2009

201031NAC461 The Economist has this interesting chart which spotlights various nations' execution numbers for 2009.  The chart comes from this little article, which is headlined "China and the death penalty: High executioners." Here is the text that accompanies the graphic:

China executes more of its own citizens than any other country, and more than all others in the world combined. “Thousands” of Chinese were executed in 2009 according to Amnesty International's annual study, which states that an exact number is impossible to determine because information on the death penalty is regarded as a state secret. But this gruesome record may yet change. The National People's Congress is reported to be reducing the number of offences that are punishable by execution. Among the crimes that currently carry the death penalty are bribing an official and stealing historical relics. 

Of course, this chart showing China ahead of all other nations reflects total number of executions. If one were to focus on per capital execution rates, I believe Iran and Saudi Arabia get to brag about beating China on this metric. In addition, I think if Texas were considered separate from the rest of the United States, it would rank pretty high on a list of per capital execution rates, while the rest of the United States would be ranked quite low on this metric.

As is true for most discussions and debates over crime and punishment, we are wise to recall the phrase made popular by Mark Twain: "lies, damned lies, and statistics."

July 29, 2010 at 08:50 AM | Permalink


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perhaps the record-man in this category is Singapore

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Jul 29, 2010 10:58:47 AM

We should all be proud that on the subject of human rights, the United States is in the company of China, Iran, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, and Syria.

Chant with me now: USA, USA, USA, USA

Posted by: reveal | Jul 29, 2010 11:37:46 AM

Don't forget Taiwan and Japan and we all know they're starving, primitive dictatorships.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jul 29, 2010 1:25:29 PM

Yes, reveal--I'd rather be in the company of, say, Scotland, who releases their mass-murdering terrorists on compassionate grounds supported by flimsy medical evidence.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jul 29, 2010 2:09:14 PM

Res Ipsa, he feels we should abandon the death penalty and be in the company of Russia and Mexico.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jul 29, 2010 7:48:57 PM

Data on extra-judicial executions would also be interesting (I'm looking at you, Sri Lanka in 2009 ...) although understandably harder to compile/verify. Arguably a different scenario as well.

Posted by: anon23 | Jul 29, 2010 8:19:16 PM

But, the abolitionist believes in the death penalty, just that of murder victims. Because murder victims generate no government sinecures, they may rot. That 17,000 will be murdered by the client of the lawyer, the murdering maniac, next year and every other year after, has the foreseeability of planetary orbits. That knowledge makes all lawyers, judges, and legislators collaborators with the murderers. This collaboration for the purpose of making money fully justifies violent self-help by the families of those lost to lawyer rent seeking. Bring street justice to all murder collaborators.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 29, 2010 9:38:26 PM

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