Forum: Those Less Fortunate

Death Penalty Reform

by Susan Trevaskes

CHINA EXECUTES more people than any other nation. Yet, over the last decade, its death penalty policy has undergone a life change. This began on 1 January 2007, when the Supreme People’s Court (SPC)1 assumed exclusive authority for the final review and approval of all death sentences across the nation. For decades, and for most capital offences, this had been the job of provincial-level appellate courts. The number of executions that year plummeted by one third, according to the SPC, as the result of a deliberate commitment to ‘killing fewer’ 少杀 by removing the more arbitrary elements from the system.

Criminal Villages and Roving Crime

by Børge Bakken

XI JINPING TIME AND AGAIN stresses that the Chinese Dream is the dream of the ‘old one hundred surnames’ laobaixing 老百姓, the common men and women of China. This dream, however, involves what development theorists have termed a ‘betting on the strong’ strategy, where there are many who do not ‘get rich first’ and some that never will. From being one of the most equal nations in the world nearly four decades ago, China is today listed as one of the most unequal nations in the world. Economic reforms brought much prosperity for some, but also created a system with two kinds of people: the haves and the have-nots.

Rethinking China's Agriculture

by Shi Xinjie

THE YEAR 2017 was the fourteenth consecutive year in which the central government’s first policy document, China’s No. 1 Document 中央一号文件, focussed on rural issues and emphasised official support for agricultural development. Over the last several decades, China’s urban-biased economic boom has triggered demographic and other changes that seriously challenge the country’s capacity to feed itself. With about twenty-two per cent of the world’s population (over nine per cent of whom remain undernourished)6 and only seven per cent of its total agricultural acreage, it is a pressing problem.