The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, is considering reducing the number of crimes subject to the death penalty, an NPC official said on Sunday.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session, Zang Tiewei, of the NPC Standing Committee's Commission for Legislative Affairs, said an amendment to the Criminal Law has been included in the annual legislative agenda.
The legislature will study the possibility of reducing the number of types of crimes to which the death penalty is applicable, based on the needs of China's economic and social development and criminal deterrence, he said.
The last time China reduced the number of crimes punishable by death was in 2011. At that time, the country's legislature adopted an amendment to the Criminal Law, reducing the types of crimes punishable by death by 20 percent, or 13 in number. It was also the first reduction since the Criminal Law took effect in 1979.
A key reform blueprint of the Communist Party of China published in November said China will reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty "step by step."
Currently, all death penalties have to undergo review by the Supreme People's Court.