CHINA executes 14 for robbery and murder

Sunday, May 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BEIJING (AP) _ Authorities in two Chinese cities executed a total of 14 people Sunday for robbery and murder, part of a crackdown on crime that human rights groups say has seen more than 500 people put to death in a few weeks.

The executions were carried out in the southwestern city of Chongqing and in Changde, a city in the southern province of Hunan. The 14 people executed were all involved in a nine-year spree of thefts and killings, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua did not specify the method of execution, but the condemned in China are generally shot.

Amnesty International and other rights groups say China has executed more than 500 people since unleashing the anti-crime campaign dubbed ``Strike Hard'' in early April. A Western diplomat said Chinese state-run media reported 801 executions in the final three weeks of April alone.

China keeps nationwide execution figures a secret and has not said how many have been killed. Last year, at least 1,000 people were put to death _ more than the rest of the world combined, according to Amnesty International.