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Suspended Execution beyond China’s Borders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2021

Tobias Smith*
Affiliation:
Wilson Center
Daniel Pascoe
Affiliation:
School of Law, City University of Hong Kong
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: tobiasjsmith@sfsu.edu

Abstract

Although China remains the world’s most prolific death-penalty jurisdiction, it has also reportedly reduced executions in the twenty-first century. China achieved this reduction in part through the use of a nominal capital sentence called “suspended execution.” The success of suspended execution as a diversionary tool has produced calls for its introduction elsewhere. However, there has been no empirical research on suspended execution outside China. This article fills this gap by identifying neighbouring countries where suspended-execution proposals have been considered, determining why these countries considered it, and examining how proposals were structured. We identify four Asian jurisdictions—Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. We find that all of these countries looked to China for inspiration; each did so independently and for reasons unrelated to China’s death-penalty reforms. Our findings provide insights about capital punishment in Asia, the appeal of suspended execution, and the role of China in regional penal practice.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Asian Journal of Law and Society

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