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Opinion: Corruption has to stay capital crime
By Zou Hanru (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-19 05:54

Corruption in China is a crime that draws capital punishment. But capital punishment doesn't seem to deter "capital crimes." So should we abolish capital punishment?

Liu Jinbao, former BOC chief executive, in an undated picture.
China has lost billions of yuan of public money to corrupt officials. The latest in that series is former Bank of China (Hong Kong) chief executive Liu Jinbao. He was given a suspended death sentence last week for embezzling, solely or in collaboration with others, more than 14 million yuan (US$1.7 million). He could not account for another 14 million yuan worth of personal assets.

Liu was only one of those caught and tried in China and the amount recovered from them is but a fraction of what the country has lost.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, more than 4,000 officials have fled the country, taking with them nearly US$50 billion.

Since China does not have extradition agreements with most of the countries harbouring the fugitives, they cannot be always brought back to face Chinese justice.

Also, many of these countries do not hand down the death penalty for corruption. So extraditing the fugitives, they argue, would be tantamount to sending them to death row.

To facilitate the extradition of such criminals, China's legal experts have suggested abolishing the death penalty for corruption.

It's true that about half the world has abolished capital punishment altogether and the other half that still has it hands it down only for heinous crimes like murder.
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