Dui Hua regularly publishes estimates of the number of executions in China, while the actual number remains a state secret. The number of executions has dropped significantly since the Supreme People’s Court regained the power to review all death sentences in 2007. A frequent commentator on death penalty issues across the globe and within China, The Economist has called Dui Hua’s research on the number of executions in China “the best figures available”.

Dui Hua estimates that China executed approximately 2,400 people in 2013 and will execute roughly the same number of people in 2014, based on data points published in Southern Weekly and information provided to Dui Hua by a judicial official. 2014 is unlikely to show a downward trend in capital punishment as reductions in other areas are likely to be offset by an uptick in death sentences handed down during the anti-terrorism campaign in Xinjiang and the nationwide campaign against corruption.

In early 2017, the foundation estimated that there had been 2,000 executions in 2016. Dui Hua’s death penalty log was expanded in 2016 with the acquisition of materials from a Supreme People’s Court website that recorded the results of death penalty reviews from 2013 to 2015. In April 2016, Dui Hua – using its internal log – determined that the average length of time a person sentenced to death waits until execution is two months. This period, longer than originally expected, provides those seeking to intervene in death penalty cases a window within which to carry out interventions.

Estimated No. of Executions in China
2002 12,000
2003 10,000
2004 10,000
2005 8,000
2006 7,000
2007 6,500
2008 5,000
2009 5,000
2010 5,000
2011 4,000
2012 3,000
2013 2,400
2016 2,000
2017 2,200
2018 2,000

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