by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang
(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.
Chapter III. Number of death row executions
Through our estimates, we have set the number of annual death row executions at 10,000. In this section, we will explain how we reached this number.
Some may wonder whether the massively growing organ market was the result of a sudden increase in China’s death row executions. According to the article, “The number of death row executions has decreased significantly,” posted on Chinanews.com on September 6, 2007, “For more than a decade, the People’s Court has continuously been strict and prudent in the use of the death sentence, resulting in the steady reduction of death row executions.”  Although there is little credibility in the Chinese Communist government’s propaganda, it is a fact that there was no sudden, massive increase of death row executions during the peak of China’s organ market between 2003 and 2006.
Let us take a look at how organizations outside of China, as well as experts in mainland China, have estimated the number of death row executions in China.
1. Number of annual executions of death row inmates in China
First of all, we need to distinguish the number of death row executions from the number of death sentences. A significant portion of those sentenced to death in China receive a stay of execution. In most cases these sentences are often commuted to time in prison. The aforementioned article on Chinanews.com also quoted Jiang Xingchang, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, who said, “In recent years, in many places in China the percentage of death sentences with a two-year reprieve has come close to, or even surpassed, the percentage of death sentences with immediate execution.”
Outside estimates of the number of annual executions of death row inmates in China vary from 1,000 to 10,000. In the article “Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty” published on January 1, 2007, Amnesty International stated, “At least 1,010 people were executed in China during the year, although these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Credible sources suggest that between 7,500 to 8,000 people were executed in 2006.”  In its 2007 report, Hands Off Cain, an Italian-based organization against the death penalty worldwide, stated, “In 2006, there were at least 5,628 executions worldwide,” and “at least 5,000 executions took place in China.”  In an interview with the media, Liu Renwen, professor at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stated that academic circles estimated that roughly 8,000 people were executed annually. In his article “The Puzzle of the Number of Death Row Executions in China,” Wang Guangze, a mainland scholar, revealed that according to a veteran criminal defense lawyer in Henan Province, the number of annual executions in Henan Province is over 500 in a non-strike-hard year, and can reach as high as 800 in a strike-hard year. Wang thus deduced that with 30 provinces, an annual number of 10,000 death row executions in China is highly possible.  In March 2004, China Youth Daily reported that while urging the Supreme Court to reconsider all death sentences, the National People’s Congress claimed that the country executed approximately 10,000 people every year.
As most of the outside estimates come from organizations that are against the death penalty, it is possible that their estimates are high. In other words, the actual number may turn out to be less than 10,000. Thus, in our calculation, it is safe to use 10,000 as the upper limit.
Some may ask whether there were nationwide strike-hard campaigns that would have increased the number of executions.
2. No large-scale Strike-Hard campaigns from 2003 to the present
Between 1983 and 2002, there were three large-scale nationwide Strike-Hard campaigns: from 1983-1987, from 1996-1997, and from 2001-2002. While it may not be clear to the outside world how many people were executed during these three campaigns, the first campaign between 1983 and 1987 could be referred to as “random killing.” The campaign slogans at that time were: “Arrest borderline cases without hesitation;” “Sentence borderline cases without hesitation;” “Execute borderline cases without hesitation.” This campaign resulted in grave consequences, so the latter two campaigns changed policy from “taking strict, prompt action” to “combining punishment with leniency,” and to “reducing and avoiding the death penalty” and “executing doubtless cases and holding the ones with doubts.” There has not been a large-scale Strike-Hard campaign from 2003 to the present. In other words, Strike-Hard campaigns have not played a key role in the massive growth of the organ market.
 China News Agency, “Steady reduction of death row executions in China,” Chinanews.com.cn, September 6, 2007, http://www.sh.chinanews.com.cn/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=31395
 Amnesty International, Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty (1 January 2007),http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/002/2007
 Hands Off Cain, “The Most Important Facts of 2006 (and the first seven months of 2007,” Hands Off Cain 2007 Report, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/index.php?tipotema=arg&idtema=9324906
 Wang Guangze, “The Puzzle of the Number of Death Row Executions in China,” http://crd-net.org/Article/Class7/200703/20070320091911_3703.html