Staggering 99.9% conviction rate in China revealed

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By Katie King on

An ode to Chinese defence lawyers


Think UK defence lawyers have it tough? Spare a thought for those over in China, where the courts have a 99.9% criminal conviction rate.

Of the 1.2m plus people that faced trial in the country’s criminal courts last year, 1,039 (0.08%) were acquitted. This rate isn’t all that different from 2014, yet the Chinese press was quick to report that the number of acquitted defendants rose by about 34%.

This means an overall conviction rate of close to 99.9% — in the UK it’s 80%.

Either China’s justice system is close to perfect or else the courts — which are guarded by the Communist Party — are locking up a load of innocent people. Just 1,357 wrongful criminal convictions were corrected last year, including that of Chen Man, who returned home early last year after spending 23 years in prison for a homicide and arson he didn’t commit.

Though China is known for its shocking human rights record, the figures are particularly appalling. William Nee of Amnesty International, speaking to The Telegraph, described the conviction rate as “astronomical”.