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China defends executions of criminals as deterrent

Chinese police defended the execution of thousands of convicted criminals in a 15-month crackdown, saying the crime rate has fallen by more than 30 percent because executions ''educate'' the public.

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Western diplomats have put the figure at 5,000 to 10,000 executed since August of 1983. Amnesty International appealed to the communist regime to scrap the death penalty, release thousands of political prisoners, and ensure fair trials. China regards such complaints as meddling in its internal affairs.

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