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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the (a) likelihood and (b) extent of innocent people being executed in China; if she will make representations on this matter to the Chinese authorities; and if she will make a statement. (97582)

Statistics on actual use of the death penalty in China remain a state secret, but non-governmental organisations have suggested that figures could be as high as 8,000 executions per year. We continue to press the Chinese government to reduce the number of crimes that warrant the death penalty and to improve transparency on the number of people executed in China. My noble and Learned Friend the Lord Chancellor raised the death penalty with the Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on 24 October. We also raised this issue at the last round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in July.