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Top Court: No Death Penalty for Lai Changxing
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China's promise not to sentence the most wanted fugitive Lai Changxing to death is an essential prerequisite to have him repatriated from Canada, said Ni Shouming, a spokesman for the Supreme People's Court, said on Tuesday.

"We made the promise (not to sentence Lai to death) to seek his repatriation, and it is the only correct option to punish crimes and safeguard the interests of the nation," Ni said during an interview with, a leading news Internet portal in China.

Lai was accused of being the mastermind behind the country's largest smuggling ring. He fled to Canada in 1999 and remains there. China wants to bring him back to face charges of smuggling, bribery and tax evasion.

Canadian officials have been unwilling to allow Lai's extradition because he could be sentenced to death. Recently, Canada's federal court held a hearing on the risks evaluation of Lai's repatriation.

Ni said that there are two options for China: refusing to make any promise and giving up the efforts for Lai's repatriation, or making a promise to have him back.

"Such a promise has nothing to do with justice fairness," Ni said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2007)

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