Injection to become execution method
Beijing is preparing to adopt execution by injection, a top judicial official said.
Shen Deyong, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, told Xinhua yesterday that the mainland would use lethal injections once an experiment on the new execution method was completed.
A related set of regulations was under review by the Supreme People's Court, Xinhua said.
According to Mr Shen, a study entrusted by the Supreme People's Court to the China Academy of Medical Sciences on drugs used for execution would soon be completed.
He said lethal injection would be used across the country once the 'conditions become mature'.
Most prisoners on death row are currently executed by a shot to the head.
China's first execution by injection was carried out in Kunming, Yunnan province, on March 28, 1997, when two prisoners were injected.
Mr Shen said lethal injections similar to the ones given in Kunming had been tried in cities such as Wuhan, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Luoyang and had provided doctors with useful information on the new execution method.
Kunming officials said more than 1,000 experiments were conducted on animals in developing the injections, and executioners were taught to locate veins by practising on rabbits.
Some critics of lethal injection said the method would be used to allow the harvesting of prisoners' organs for transplant.
Beijing denies such claims, although the practice has been widely documented by overseas media.
Xinhua said that executions by gunshot would continue after the lethal-injection method was adopted.