The population of China’s massive immigration to European cities and corporate investment in the eastern nation has forced International Lawyers Associates to be very prepared in this regard, providing customers with a network of partners in the top 20 cities in the country: from Shanghai to Beijing, to Hong Kong, Tientsin, and Wuhan.

Recently China has shown remarkable openness to the international community with the modernization of its legal system. Three concepts have been sanctioned that revolutionize the Chinese legal environment: the inheritance of other forms of law, especially Roman law; from a market point of view, the social significance of this and its rationale are hard to accept in this socialist state. Starting from these assumptions, Chinese jurists strive to harmonize their system with that of the Roman and European ones that are dominant on the international scene.

Our lawyers are generally employed in this country to provide assistance to industry leaders and others involved in financial investments in the country, including import/export. The law firm has provided assistance both in and out of court, always with the inevitable and necessary help of its local partners, who for technical and cultural reasons are always indispensable.

Our team devotes particular attention to this country, warning our clients of all those crimes that involve capital punishment in China.

The Chinese Criminal Code, which is also available online, includes a high number of crimes that are punishable with the death penalty. Chinese justice has issued up to 6,000 death sentences since 2004, of which 3,500 have been carried out.;

International Lawyers Associates considers it necessary to publish the list of crimes involving capital punishment:

  • Intentional Homicide (art. 232),
  • Financial crimes punishable with the death penalty:
  • Corruption (art.383)
  • Concussion (art. 383)
  • Embezzlement (art. 383)
  • Resale of tax receipts (art. 206)
  • Tax evasion (art. 205)
  • Financial counterfeiting (art. 170)
  • Speculation
  • Fraud (art. 192)
  • Financial or insurance fraud (art. 194)
  • Credit card fraud (art. 195)
  • Extortion
  • Blackmail
  • Smuggling (art. 151)

Crimes against the State:

  • Colluding with foreign states to undermine the State (art. 102)
  • Attempts to separate the State (art. 103)
  • Armed rebellion against the State (art. 104)
  • Passing to the enemy (art. 108)
  • Spying (art. 110)
  • Disclosing, buying, or stealing State secrets (art. 111)
  • Providing the enemy with weapons or military equipment during war time (art. 112)
  • Being part of secret societies for subversive means
  • Subversion

Crimes against property punishable by the death penalty:

  • Robbery (art. 263)
  • Theft of substantial property (on September 28, 1998 a man was executed for stealing 60 yuan [$ 7.85]) (art. 264)
  • Habitual theft
  • Using telephone lines or public transport with evidence that the act was not paid for
  • Theft of communication lines for profit
  • Reproducing telephone codes for profit
  • Burglary or housebreaking

Other crimes punishable with the death penalty:

  • Causing destruction of public or private property (art. 115)
  • Escaping from prison (art. 317)
  • Spreading poison (art. 115)
  • Sale or manufacture of harmful or fake food, toxic alcohol, or false medicines with serious consequences for consumers (art. 141)
  • Sale or manufacture of false or harmful products (added in 2003)
  • Production or exposure of pornographic material (uncensored or without state authorization)
  • Causing explosions (art. 115)
  • Possession, sale, or manufacture of weapons, ammunition, or explosives (art. 125)
  • Gambling (despite the fact that in the special administrative region of Macao it is legal)
  • Bigamy
  • Disturbing public order
  • Disturbing citizens’ lives
  • Using hazardous methods that cause death or serious injury (art. 115)
  • Arson (art. 115)
  • Pandering or organizing, forcing, inducing, introducing, protecting, or exploiting prostitution (added by the Supreme Court of the People in July 1990, confirmed by the 1997 Criminal Code with art. 358)
  • Hooliganism (presumably re-introduced)
  • Hunting of protected species
  • Leaving quarantine while you have SARS or spreading the virus
  • Revelation or theft of state secrets via the internet (added in January 2001)
  • Hacking
  • Drug-related offenses (art. 347)

Procedures and types of sanctions

There are two types of death sentences in China:

  • Immediate: the condemned has 3 to 10 days to receive a pardon, and the execution takes place no longer than a week after the rejection of such a request for pardon. Executions usually take place at 10 o’clock. This is the most common type of sentence.
  • With a suspended sentence for two years: the execution is suspended for two years. If the convicted person does not commit any other crimes during this period of time, the sentence is switched to prison or another custodial sentence.

There are two modes of execution: shooting, which is the most applied, and lethal injection. The shooting is often collective, in the sense that more than one condemned person is shot at the same time.

Lethal injection was introduced to the 1997 criminal code because it was considered more humane and less brutal than shooting. Today, the number of executions by lethal injection is almost equal to shootings. Some journalists have reported that a death chamber would be added to a specially equipped van, produced by the Chinese Iveco factories, that would travel throughout the national territory and would allow them to carry out executions using the mobile structure, with considerable cost savings (detail reported in the program “Report” on Italian television channel Rai 3).

As for criminal defense in China, our international law enforcement coordinator Alexandro Maria Tirelli establishes mission costs, also in compliance with a protocol of intent and monitoring, with the diplomatic authority of the country of origin of the detainee.