New legislation enacted Tuesday requires that death penalties handed out by provincial courts be reviewed and ratified by China's highest court before executions can be carried out, AP reported. The change follows reports of executions of wrongly convicted people and criticism that lower courts have arbitrarily imposed the death sentence. The new law, which ends a 23-year-old practice of giving final review to provincial courts, enshrines last year's announcement by the Supreme People's Court that it would start reviewing all death sentences. China's official Xinhua News Agency hailed the amendment as "the most important reform of capital punishment in China in more than two decades." Amnesty International says China executed at least 1,770 people in 2005 for crimes ranging from murder to nonviolent offenses such as tax evasion.