Biased Reports

Texas Tops China in Death Sentences Per Capita in 2007

Posted in Biased Report by Hugh Hall on April 16, 2008
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A recent report on more or less misled its readers to believe that China was the worst offender in death sentences in the world in 2007. The data used came from the Amnesty International’s report Death Sentences & Executions in 2007. While the numbers cited on CNN’s report came directly from Amesty International’s report, it failed to mention that, per capita, China’s execution rate was only about 1/3 of Texas’ (0.35/million for China vs. 0.95/million for Texas.)

Using the top 5 countries in Amnesty’s report and adding Texas to the table. Then account for the population in each country/region. We came up with the new table below:

Country/Region Executions Population (mil) Executions/Million Persons
Texas* 26 27.3 0.95
China 470 1,330.0 0.35
Iran 317 65.9 4.81
Saudi Arabia 143 28.2 5.08
Pakistan 135 167.8 0.80
USA 42 303.8 0.14

The table now tells a somewhat different story. Saudi Arabia and Iran now have the highest execution rates per capita. Followed by … ahem … Texas!!! Yes, the State of Texas in USA actually won the world’s bronze medal in executions per capita. Texas’ execution rate was 2.7 times higher than China’s. Although, overall, USA still ranked relatively low at 0.14/million, Texas ought to be ashamed by ranking that high in the chart.

Maybe Amnesty International should have a talk with Texas’ Governor Rick Perry (R). Or maybe CNN should read Amnesty’s report more carefully before giving the catchy title of “China led world’s executions in 2007” to its report.

It’s also a shame that Amnesty International didn’t do a better job when presenting its findings.

Amnesty International
US DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics
Population Data for Texas Counties, 2007
CIA The World Factbook