Sixteen people were executed in Beijing Friday and sentencing rallies and executions held across the country as part of a nationwide "strike blackness and wipe out evil" crackdown.
The Beijing Supreme Court ordered the execution Friday morning of the 16, convicted of violent crimes, and they were killed soon after, the Beijing Evening News said,
The court also announced sentences to 132 others convicted of endangering social order, it said.
"This shows the high-handed stance that the Beijing court system is taking during the strike hard punishment struggle against criminals that seriously endanger social order," a court spokesman was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, courts announced "a group of executions" in Jinan and Yicheng cities in Shandong province, Wuxi city in Jiangsu province, and Putian and Quanzhou cities in Fujian province, according the People's Court Daily.
In the northern city of Harbin, 21 people were sentenced to death, while three were executed in Xingmen city, Hubei province.
Executions in China are traditionally done with a bullet to the back of the head, but recently the country has been experimenting with more humane methods such as lethal injections.
At least 34 people were reported executed and 45 sentenced to death throughout China in the first three days of the week as part of the crackdown on organised crime launched earlier this month.
President Jiang Zemin launched the campaign to strike hard against criminals, which has also seen thousands of "suspected" criminals and gang-members rounded up by police nationwide.
State newspapers reported last week that at least 89 convicted criminals had been executed in one day across the country as part of the campaign.
The one-day tally was one of the highest on record for China which, according to the human rights group Amnesty International, executes more people annually than the rest of the world combined.
Last Thursday, Amnesty condemned the executions, saying it showed "an appalling lack of respect for human life" and would "do little to curb China's rising crime rate".
"Of great concern is that this blitz on human life increases the chances of miscarriages of justice," it added.
In 1999, the international rights group recorded at least 1,263 executions in China and 2,088 death sentences, the organization said in a report released last month.
Such numbers are almost entirely based on executions reported in the state press as China regards the number of people its judicial system executes as a state secret – Beijing (AFP)
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