Life Without the Possibility of Parole in the US & China

On June 25, 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for crimes committed by juveniles. The decision is a partial victory for children’s rights advocates and supporters of rehabilitative justice. It also highlights the ways that the US sharply diverges from international norms—and Chinese practice.

Looking Back at China’s LWOP Debate

In 2008, during a forum on alternatives to capital punishment, debate ensued over the prospects for life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) in China. Although some participants supported LWOP—as a means to abolish the death penalty while satisfying public calls for safety and retribution—even they saw the measure as either transitional or insufficient. This article translates arguments on why LWOP lacks Chinese characteristics.

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Solitary Confinement in the US & China

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held the first-ever US congressional hearing on solitary confinement. Testimonies made during the hearing all articulated the same message: the lengthy application and abuse of solitary confinement is rampant in the US prison system. This article compares US and Chinese practice, both of which may constitute torture under international law.

Photo credit: US Senate

Related: Solitary Confinement with Chinese Characteristics

Bad News on Human Rights Hurts China, Helps Romney

China’s image in the United States is taking a beating. The latest Pew Global Attitudes poll indicates that just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of China and show a continuation of negative views reported by Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post in February. The polls explain much of Romney’s full-bore attack on Chinese economic, military, and human rights policies.

Prisoner Update

In a rare act of clemency, Li Wenshan (李文山), a leading member of the Chinese People’s Democracy Party, was released two years early from a 13-year sentence in May 2011. His release marks the first official confirmation that Dui Hua has received of an early release for a prisoner convicted of subversion since September 2009. Information was also obtained on two Falun Gong practitioners, a steelworker from Tianjin, and a Uyghur journalist.

Dui Hua News

A brief look at Dui Hua activities from June through August highlighting our upcoming Juvenile Justice Expert Exchange with China’s Supreme People’s Court and recent trips resulting in revelations on June Forth prisoners and advancements in our work on women in prison.