Courts across China have been urged by the country's supreme court to use lethal injections for executions in capital punishment cases.
Addressing a national meeting Thursday on the issue of using lethal injections, Liu Jiachen, vice-president of Supreme People's Court, called on local courts to switch to the chemical method of execution as soon as possible.
Liu said the move was designed to carry out capital punishment in a "more humane and scientific way."
Liu said all capital cities and other major cities should begin the practice by the end of this year.
He urged leading officials of courts at various levels to make sure the executions by injection are conducted in a professional way and in accordance with the regulations formulated by the supreme court.
Lethal injection was first given legal status as a way of execution of capital punishment on January 1, 1997.
Under China's amended Criminal Procedure Law, which became effective on January 1, 1997, capital punishment may be done by shooting, lethal injection and other methods.
Since then, lethal injections have been ordered by the Kunming Municipal Intermediate Court in southwest China's Yunnan province on a trial basis.
Experience shows the prisoners awaiting for capital punishment and their family members prefer the method of lethal injection, the meeting was told.