Pubdate: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 Source: Star, The (South Africa) Copyright: Independent Newspapers 2011 Contact: http://www.thestar.co.za/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/423 MERCILESS CHINA China is not alone in imposing the death sentence, but it is by far the most enthusiastic proponent of state-sanctioned executions. The execution yesterday of a South African woman for drug smuggling added to a number which, while never officially revealed, is widely believed to dwarf the rest of the world combined. China does not publish statistics on the number of people it executes annually, but Amnesty International estimates it to be in the thousands. Among those executed this year was Janice Linden of Durban, put to death yesterday after being convicted of smuggling 3kg of methamphetamine into the country in 2008. The human rights arguments against the death penalty are well known, while in the case of China Amnesty also points to concerns over the legal system used to convict and execute suspects, saying defendants can be sentenced to death based on confessions alone "" even confessions extracted through torture. This raises the real prospect of innocents being executed. If she was indeed guilty, Linden committed a serious crime for which she deserved a stiff jail sentence. But as China becomes a growing force in the world, it needs to rethink its death penalty policy. A little mercy is not weakness. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.