Suspended Execution Beyond China’s Borders
Asian Journal of Law and Society (2020 Forthcoming)
City University of Hong Kong Centre for Chinese and Comparative Law Research Paper Series Paper No. 2020/011
54 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2020 Last revised: 18 Nov 2020
Date Written: March 1, 2020
Although China remains the world’s most prolific death penalty jurisdiction, it has also reportedly reduced executions in the 21st century. China achieved this reduction in part through 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 neighboring 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.
Keywords: Death Penalty; China; Legal Diffusion; Suspended Execution; Comparative Criminal Law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation