[JURIST] Chinese authorities on Tuesday executed [Xinhua report] a former general manager of a major Chinese securities trading corporation who was convicted of embezzling and misappropriating more than USD $14 million. Yang Yanming was convicted and sentenced to death in December 2005 in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. In April, the Higher People's Court of Beijing denied his appeal, and his sentence was approved by the Supreme People's Court [official website, in Chinese]. Yang headed securities trading at Galaxy Securities [corporate website], formerly China Great Wall Trust and Investment Corporation between 1998 and 2003. Chinese authorities have reported that Yang refused to disclose the location of about $10 million of the funds. Yang's execution is the first time the Chinese government has executed a high executive in the finance sector.
In August, Chinese authorities executed [JURIST report] the former head of the company that owns the Beijing Capital International Airport after he was convicted of bribery and embezzlement. Li Peiying, former chairman of the Capital Airports Holding Company [corporate website], was sentenced to death in February after being convicted of accepting bribes of 26.61 million yuan (USD $3.9 million) between 1995 and 2003 and embezzling 82.5 million yuan for personal use between 2000 and 2003. In July, anti-death-penalty group Hands Off Cain [advocacy website] said that although the number of countries with capital punishment, as well as the total number of executions was down in 2008 [report] from the previous year, China continues to account for more executions [JURIST report] than any other country. In 2008, the country executed at least 5,000 people, or more than 87 percent of the world's total. China said in July that it plans to reduce [China Daily report] the number of executions it conducts, reserving the death penalty for only a small number of severe crimes.