Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
China’s Law Governing the Trial of War Criminals (1946) provides that acts of planned slaughter and murder constitute war crimes.
In its judgment in the Takashi Sakai case
in 1946, the Chinese War Crimes Military Tribunal of the Ministry of National Defence sentenced to death the Military Commander of the Japanese 29th Infantry Brigade in China. The Court considered the accused responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity for having incited or permitted his subordinates to murder prisoners of war, wounded soldiers, nurses and doctors of the Red Cross and other non-combatants. The Court considered the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1929 Geneva Convention violated.
During the Chinese civil war, the People’s Liberation Army’s policy forbade the killing of prisoners of war. The Chinese Communist Party issued instructions concerning the treatment of captured combatants which provided that “those must-be-killed notorious criminals shall be executed by shooting after being tried and convicted by court, and shall not be beaten to death or by other illegal manners which would make us lose the sympathy of the society”. According to Deng Xiaoping, prisoners of war considered “notorious criminals” were executed, but only following trial and conviction by a court.
In 1952, during the Korean War, the Chinese Government denounced the killing and injuring of prisoners of war by the US army, stating that “it destroyed the principle of humanity and essentially violated the Geneva Conventions”.