China plans to gradually lessen the number of executions it carries out while still keeping the death penalty, according to a statement released Sunday by China's Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Security, and China's lead prosecutor. The statement indicated that China cannot entirely abolish the death penalty, but noted that if the possibility exists that a convicted individual did not commit the crime, then that person should not be executed. The legal groups also condemned confessions through torture and said police must instead gather evidence according to the law.
China, which executes more prisoners than any other country in the world, revised its death penalty laws last year, mandating the Supreme People's Court to review any death sentences handed down. The country has been under pressure to take a closer look at its policies after China's deputy chief prosecutor revealed that almost every wrongful conviction in recent years has been the result of torture and intensive interrogation techniques.