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is a Senior Lecturer, University of Geneva and a Research Fellow at the CECMC, EHESS, Paris.
2 articles in English
Public Opinion and the Death Penalty Debate in China
What role does public opinion play in the present debate over the death penalty in China? Should one settle for an image of unanimous public support for the death penalty? The starting point of this article is a study of the growing awareness among Chinese legal experts, during the first decade of the millennium, of the particular role played by public opinion. Faced with violent opposition to their project to abolish the death penalty for economic crimes, legal experts share their concerns when confronted with such popular pressures, which can be reminiscent of certain Maoist practices. Using analyses of certain recent cases, the author seeks to bring out the other dimensions that make up public opinion, in order to question an idea that is ambiguous and problematical in the context of today’s China.
Le texte de cet article n'est accessible qu'aux abonnés à Perspectives chinoises.
Access to this article is restricted to subscribers to China Perspectives.
The Debate Over the Death Penalty in Today's China
Despite the sensitivity of the subject, the death penalty is currently a topic of public discussion among Chinese legal experts who are now openly wondering about its possible abolition. This debate is of interest on three counts. First, it goes hand-in-hand with a retrospective reading of the Chinese penal tradition, highlighting the succession of attempts at modernising criminal law for over a century. It also shows the ever present weight of the Maoist legacy and the contradictions of the present policy, caught between a concern for legality and continuing recourse to exceptional measures. Lastly, legal professionals and theorists alike are engaging in a reviewbased on specific casesof the particular features of contemporary Chinese society and culture.