Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Monday, August 3, 2009

"The most heinous of crimes"?

Article 48 of China's Criminal Law states that the death penalty is to be against only those criminals who commit the most heinous of crimes (死刑只适用于罪行极其严重的犯罪分子). Apparently drunken drivers who commit negligent homicide now rank up there with professional hitmen and serial killers who torture their victims - at least according to the Intermediate Court of Chengdu, Sichuan, as reported here. An aggravating circumstance is that the driver was unlicensed. He did apparently stick around at the scene, however (as reported here). He was convicted of endangering public safety.

Obviously, negligent homicide through drunken driving by a guy who didn't even have a license is not a good thing. But if that's "the most heinous of crimes," it's setting the bar pretty low.

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Don't worry. The bar is adjusted according to the wish of the government. It will rise with need to show leniency towards friends and families of government officials or Party members, or whenever politics dictates.

Posted by: Bill | Aug 4, 2009 7:52:30 AM

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