[JURIST] China's Supreme People's Court [official website] overturned 15 percent of death sentences imposed by lower courts during 2007, the president of the Supreme Court's criminal law chamber said in a Saturday China News report [text, in Chinese]. Huang Ermei also said that 2007 was the first year in which fewer prisoners were executed outright than those granted "death penalties with reprieve." She said, however, that China plans to keep the death penalty [JURIST news archive] "for a considerable time to come." Reuters has more.
In response to wrongful convictions and international criticism, China implemented reforms [JURIST report] at the beginning of 2007 requiring that all death sentences be approved [JURIST report] by the Supreme People's Court. High court vice-president Jiang Xingchang [official profile] said in September that death sentences handed down by Chinese courts were at a ten-year low in 2006 and the trend continued [JURIST report] in 2007.