China executed more people in 2016 than the rest of the world combined.
This is according to Amnesty International’s 2016 global review of the death penalty.
Excluding China, states around the world executed 1,032 people in 2016.
China is believed to top that total number in state sponsored executions.
But the exact number is unknown because the country’s use of the death penalty is shrouded in secrecy.
China classifies most information related to the death penalty as state secrets.
Amnesty International found public news reports of at least 931 individuals executed between 2014 and 2016 (only a fraction of the total executions), but only 85 of them are in the state database.
The nonprofit organization is calling on China to be more transparent about its use of capital punishment.
“What we’re telling the government is very simple – it’s to come clean, to publish all the information they have on the death penalty as the United Nations has been asking for 40 years and as they themselves, in recent years, have said, they want to be more open, they want to end secretive work and they want to publish legal documents. They should live up to their own standards too,” said William Nee, Amnesty International China researcher.
On the other hand, the number of executions in the U.S. is at its lowest since 1999.
Twenty people were executed in the United States last year.
For the first time since 2006, the United States is not one of the top five executioners.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan rank after China.
The world’s top executors make up more than 90 percent of global death penalties.