Amnesty International calls on China to address 'grotesque level of capital punishment'

On Tuesday, Amnesty International released both its 2016 worldwide report on the death penalty and the findings of an investigation into that matter.

Among the changes from the year prior is a global drop in instances.

According to the organization, there were 1,032 executions in 2016, 37 percent (602) fewer than in 2015. This decline is largely due to reductions in the number of executions in Pakistan from 326 to 87 and Iran from 977 to about 567.

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Top countries by capital punishment in 2016
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Top countries by capital punishment in 2016

10. Malaysia: 9 executions

(Photo via Getty Images)

9. Bangladesh: 10 executions

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8. Somalia: 14 executions

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7. United States: 20 executions

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6. Egypt: 44+ executions

(Photo by Leonid Andronov via Getty Images)

5. Pakistan: 87+ executions

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4. Iraq: 88+ executions

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3. Saudi Arabia: 154+ executions

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2. Iran: 567+ executions

(Photo by Thomas Janisch via Getty Images)

1. China: 1,000s of executions

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The 2016 figure represents executions in all countries except China, which, according to Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, "...persists in actively concealing the true scale of executions," despite assurances of transparency.

The organization notes that "China's database contains only a tiny fraction of the thousands of death sentences that Amnesty International estimates are handed out every year in China."

Amnesty International reports that it "found public news reports of at least 931 individuals executed [in China] between 2014 and 2016 (only a fraction of the total executions), but only 85 of them are in the state database."

It estimates that the Chinese government has put more people to death than all other countries combined.

On the other hand, with 20 executions on record for 2016, the U.S. has seen its fewest number of executions since 1991.

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