(Sept. 8, 2010) On August 28, 2010, China's National People's Congress published the full text of the draft eighth amendment to the Criminal Law after its first reading, to solicit public opinions. An explanation of the draft amendment accompanying the text was published at the same time. (Xingfa Xiuzheng An (Cao'an) Tiaowen ji Caoan Shuoming [Provisions of the (Draft) Amendment to the Criminal Law and Explanation] [in Chinese] (Aug. 28, 2010) (hereinafter Draft Amendment), http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/flcazqyj/2010-08/28/content_1592773.htm.) This draft was first presented to the NPC Standing Committee for review on August 23, 2010. (Laney Zhang, China: Death Penalty Crimes to Be Reduced,GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Aug. 31, 2010), http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205402201_text.)
In addition to reducing the number of crimes that may be subject to the death penalty, the 47-article amendment also would introduce, if adopted, the following changes in the Criminal Law:
– Stricter rules on imprisonment penalties. At the same time as it proposes limits on the use of the death penalty, the draft proposes stricter rules on commuting the death penalty with a reprieve and on release on parole. In addition, the ceiling for combined sentences of fixed-term imprisonment would rise from 20 years to 25.
– Stricter rules on organized crimes.
– More lenient rules for seniors and minors. For the first time, seniors who are 75 years or older would be exempted from the death penalty.
– Criminalization of several violations against public security or acts against which the masses have a strong negative reaction, including drunk driving, racing on public roads, refusal to pay labor remuneration, and illegal trade in human organs.
– Heavier penalties for forcing others to do labor: the maximum number of years of imprisonment for those convicted of this offense would be raised from three to seven. (Draft Amendment, supra.)
The public may submit their opinions on the draft online or by mail to the NPC Standing Committee, by September 30, 2010. (Id.)