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In Mainland China, there are 46[1] crimes punishable by death.[2][3] These are defined in the criminal law of China, which comprehensively identifies criminal acts and their corresponding liabilities.[4]

List of capital offenses

Crimes Endangering National Security

Endangering national security is among the crime categories included in the 1997 revision of China's criminal code.[5] It comprises Articles 102 to 113 of the 1997 Criminal Law and imposes the confiscation of property as a supplementary penalty.[6] The crimes included are:

  1. Treason
  2. Separatism
  3. Armed rebellion, rioting
  4. Collaborating with the enemy
  5. Spying or espionage
  6. Selling state secrets
  7. Providing material support to the enemy

Crimes Endangering Public Security

  1. Arson
  2. Flooding
  3. Manslaughter
  4. Bombing
  5. Spreading poisons
  6. Spreading hazardous substances (e.g., radioactive, toxic, pathogenic)
  7. Seriously endangering public safety, broadly construed
  8. Sabotaging electricity
  9. Sabotaging gas, fuel, petroleum, or other flammables or explosives
  10. Hijacking aircraft
  11. Illegal possession, transport or selling of explosives or firearms
  12. Illegally manufacturing, selling, transporting or storing hazardous materials
  13. Theft of explosives or other dangerous material
  14. Theft of firearms, ammunition or other dangerous material

Economic crimes

  1. Production or sale of counterfeit medicine
  2. Production or sale of hazardous food products

Crimes against people

  1. Intentional homicide
  2. Intentional assault
  3. Rape
  4. Kidnapping
  5. Human trafficking

Crimes against property

  1. Robbery

Crimes against public order

  1. Prison escape, jailbreaking
  2. Raiding a prison
  3. Smuggling, dealing, transporting or manufacturing drugs

Crimes against national defense

  1. Sabotaging weapons, military installations, or military communications
  2. Providing substandard weapons or military installations

Corruption and bribery

  1. Embezzlement

Breach of duty by soldiers

  1. Insubordination
  2. Concealment or false reporting of military intelligence
  3. Refusing to pass or falsely passing orders
  4. Surrender
  5. Defection with aircraft or ships
  6. Selling military secrets
  7. Theft of military weaponry or supplies
  8. Illegally selling or transferring military weaponry or supplies
  9. Killing innocent inhabitants of war zones or plundering their property
  10. Cowardice


A 2011 amendment to this law for the purpose of legal provisions improvement reduced the number of capital crimes by 19.1% and gave more lenient punishments to minors and the elderly (75 years old and above).[4]

In 2015, the criminal code was amended to remove nine capital offenses:[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ "China media: Death penalty". BBC News. 2014-10-28. Archived from the original on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  2. ^ "China says death penalty to be used only for 'serious offenders'". Asahi Shimbun. The Associated Press. 2016-09-12. Archived from the original on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  3. ^ 立行, ed. (2015-08-29). "中国刑法再次修正取消9个死刑罪名". BBC中文网 (BBC Chinese) (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  4. ^ a b Wang, Nathan; Madison, Nathan (2013). Inside China's Legal System. Oxford: Chandos Publishing. p. 311. ISBN 9780857094605.
  5. ^ Lu, Hong; Miethe, Terance (2007). China's Death Penalty: History, Law and Contemporary Practices. New York: Routledge. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0415955690.
  6. ^ Young, Simon (2009). Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property: Legal Measures for Targeting the Proceeds of Crime. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 9781847208262.
  7. ^ "China:". Library of Congress. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  8. ^ Van Sant, Shannon. "China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death". Voice of America. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  9. ^ Daum, Jeremy (28 September 2015). "It's a crime, I tell ya: Major Changes in China's Criminal Law Amendment 9". China Law Translate. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  10. ^ Plaçais, Aurélie (6 October 2015). "China reduces the number of crimes punishable by death to 46, but keep drug trafficking in the list". World Coalition against the Death Penalty. Retrieved 23 June 2019.

Further reading