China strengthens death sentence review to better protect human rights

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China has reinforced human rights protection in death sentence review and tightened the conditions applicable to the death penalty in recent years, a top court official said on Monday.

Defendants who render significant meritorious services shall generally be granted leniency and be exempted from the death sentence if possible, Li Xiao, a senior judge with the Supreme People's Court (SPC), told a press conference.

The death penalty shall not be applicable to defendants over 75 years old unless they intentionally commit homicide or crimes with especially serious circumstances, Li added.

The top court has adhered to the highest standards, strictest conditions and taken a fact-based approach in accordance with the law, she said.

During the death penalty review, the SPC also heeds the opinions of the defendant's lawyers as sufficiently as possible, as well as the supervisory results from the Supreme People's Procuratorate over the case, Li said.

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