Norms of death continued


lecture by Borge Bakken at the Australian NationaL uNIVERSity


survey in china asked if a rich man and a poor man commit the same crime who is more likely to get the death penalty? 70% said the poor.

laogai – people there 91% wanted to abolosh or reduce death penalty. 31% wanted abolition

concrete situation changed their attitude. they had seen the injustice of the system from the inside

moralist core argument is a failure.

the common man sees flaws of judicial system. in old days death penalthy was used to exterminate the bad

the rich get richer and the poor get prison – geoffrey ryman

survey of executon – 62% of those executed were jobless or rural residents/

people are aware that people are unjustly sentenced to death because of sloppy procedures and unjust treatment. corrupt judges

55 death penalty offences including theft. used to be 69.

would you still support death penalty if you know about wrongful executions


innocence frame changed opinion in many lands

chinese are becoming aware of wrongful execotion

2005 a court reopened a rape murder where a suspect was caught 10 yeas after someone was executed for this

a btcher in mian country was executed for a crime he did not commit. a woman’s dismembered body was found in a river. aurhtorieies said a butcher must have done it because the body was dissected very well

they do not use evidence much but confessions.

forensics dna not used much

procedures are only 30% of people in court are defence lawyers. defence lawyers are seen as bad for defending criminals

the woman who was supposed to have been murdered turned up alive

cases on blog.

a hunan citizen was released from prison when his neighbour he supposedly murdered reappeared. left an impact

in the press

people ask for compensation

max planck survey addressed innocence. potential for change

theoretical question – are innocent people might be wrongly executed. 60% said it happened 26% said it did not

44% of pro death people said they would not support death penalty if they knew of wrongful executions

48% of people would support death penalty even f they knew of wrongful executions. that is lower than in UK

Japan, korea and taiwan – all have higher level of sipport fpr death penalty.

2002 survery – 82% supported death penalty



if told the state had already abolished death penalty the support for it fell from 82% ot 60%

state uses people as a pretext for being retentionist

is the state bans death penalty – public opinion follows suit


no strong cultural incentives to support death penalty in USA

when USA aboloshed death penalty only there did majority support death

in Poland most people support it

public opinion survey when we look at aggregates we see change

people with strong core values do not change

they are in core value groups’

opinion follows a flatline of stability in these groups

some people follow the environment and new info

they turned to innocence frame. in literature they represent systematic change called the signal

they influence the climate of opinion in short time

ambivalent group/ did not dare to answer question

no we do not know fluctuates between core value group. turned if change in the way in which they lean towards one part of the spectrum

look at signal group to see change in the making

ambivalent group follow change – tell us about direction

this group often say do not know or not sure. sometimes 75% said do not know about deterrence

58% were in favour and 14% against

these people have no clue? The neutrals?

signal group

abolitionist minority is growing.

vividly illustrated towards perceived efficiency of the death penalty – prevents crime? Just a little or a lot

core value group pro death penalty people

they say it is a deterrent and it is moral. criminology say it is not a deterrent

people who are abolitionists. some are against it for moral reasons even if it is a deterrent

ambivalent group.

in questions after another the ambivalent leans towards abolition

the old hundred names is to blame for capital punishment

chinese masses are not as retributive as we have been told

public opinion has changed faster than legal institutions

1995 survey by academy of social sciences

high class people less likely to support death penalty than the lower class

absolute highest support for death penalty among military and police

43% of people said there was too LITTLE use of death penalty among them

28% of retired officials wanted more executions

personell in legal sector most liberal. only 9% said there was TOO LITTLE use of death penalty

oldest people most pro death youngest most anti


women a little less punitive than men

masses – sought twice as many supported abolition compared to central part cadres

50% wanted more use of death

party cadres – intellectuals. illiterates and those with primary school of death penalty were twice as likely to support abolition than the higher educated

black people more anti death in USA than whites

30% with highest education wanted more capital punishment

only 20% of illiterates wanted more death penalty

only elite group against death penalty is lawyers

more support for reducing the death penalty

high income respondents had fear of death penalty for economic crimes. No clear line between entrepreneurship and corruption

survey on legal scholars in wuhan. 2007. questionaire. 96% of people in survey had a legal education. respondence to same surveys. support or oppose death penaly. in favour 63% of death general population 57%

there are backwards and advanced mass opinions.

we have to educate the masses.

we need masses on our side to abolish the death penalty so said a chinese leader

common people are more liberal on death penalty than the elite

no penal populism

penal elitism in china. elites are more conservatives than the masses that they use as an excuse for upholding it

death penalty is held aloft by the state. state is too slow moving. secrecy of numbers executed. they do not give stats

should govt publish number of executions. 64% said yes and 16% said no



public opinion is ahead of govt

myth of revengeful opinion. penal norm is far from old mainstream assumption that we learn to act punitively

penal norm is not part of never changing core culture

innocence frame is driving force behind change


beginning to establish itself in china

how you frame a debate.

Victor Hugo

”greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.”









About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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