EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/25/91
UA 85/91 Death Penalty 7 March 1991
PEOPLE`S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: Wang Xiguo
Wang Xiguo, an unemployed construction worker from Wuxue town in Hubei Province,
was recently sentenced to death for armed robbery, according to reports reaching
Amnesty International. The date of sentencing by the local Intermediate
People`s Court is not known, but Wang is said to be presently appealing against
Wang is aged 35, and married with a six-year-old son. A business
enterprise he started with a friend had apparently recently run into trouble.
Wang was charged by the prosecution with the theft of some 20,000 yuan from
an unspecified company - no more details of the crime are available.
In recent years the death penalty has been increasingly used to combat
economic crime and official corruption. One sentencing guideline for the use
of the death penalty in such cases (issued by the central authorities at an
unspecified date) states that "individuals who steal private or public property
worth more than 30,000 yuan (about US$ 7000) shall be sentenced to death
according to the law". In practice, judicial authorities exercise a wide range
of discretion in sentencing offenders to death for economic and other crimes.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- urging that Wang Xiguo`s death sentence be commuted;
- stating your unconditional opposition to the death penalty as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment or punishment as proclaimed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.