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China Executes Eight by Injection

June 7, 2000

BEIJING (AP) _ Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have executed eight people using lethal injection, the state-run newspaper Beijing Morning Post reported Wednesday.

The executions in Chengdu, Sichuan, followed a Supreme People’s Court order, the newspaper reported. The report gave no names or details about their crimes.

China usually executes people by gunshot, but in recent years has begun testing the use of lethal injections.

The report said the executions took place in a ``peaceful setting″ in an isolated room containing two beds. The injections were given in two stages: an anesthetic to cause unconsciousness followed by the drug used to cause death. No other details were given.

China and the United States are the only countries known to use lethal injections.

Chinese legal experts contend that the method is more humane and say injections will eventually replace firing squads nationwide. Authorities here say the death penalty is needed to deter crime.

But opponents of the death penalty say they fear the switch to lethal injections may aid what they believe is an unacknowledged government program to harvest organs from the executed for use in transplants.

According to London-based Amnesty International, in the 1990s more people were executed or sentenced to death in China than in the rest of the world combined, often after swift trials for nonviolent crimes such as corruption or theft.

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