China is to begin carrying out executions by lethal injection rather than by gunshot, the vice president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) told state media on Thursday. Jiang Xingchang said that half of the country’s 404 intermediate people’s courts – which carry out most of the executions – will use lethal injections as "it is considered more humane." This will eventually apply to all intermediate people’s courts. In a separate interview, Xiao Yang, China’s chief justice, said that it is unrealistic for China to abolish capital punishment in the short term because of the strong public belief in the concept of "an eye for an eye and a life for a life." However, he did acknowledge that abolition or strict limitation on the use of the death penalty is a global trend and "China is also working toward that direction." At least 1,010 people were executed in China in 2006 out of a global total of 1,591, Amnesty International estimates, based on public reports. However, the human rights group believes the actual figure could be between 7,500 and 8,000.