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    in recent years, many Asian countries have witnessed an intensification in populist discourses identifying the death penalty as a central tool of drug control, with public opinion surveys referred to as invaluable evidence of public support for the death penalty. This paper will address the claim that the public supports capital punishment, and the role of surveys in shaping this discourse. review of thirty-nine public opinion surveys on the death penalty carried out in five Asian countries which retain the death penalty for drugs or are considering re-introducing it. The review was conducted by analysing and comparing design, methodology, findings, and the relationship between these elements. all but two surveys recorded a majoritarian support for the death penalty, driven by beliefs in (a) deterrent effect of the death penalty, and (b) perfect justice - both disproven. Complex surveys found a low intensity of support, and a limited interest and knowledge by the public in capital punishment. Support for capital punishment is lower for drug offences specifically, and it decreases significantly when expressed with reference to real-life cases. Limited data suggest that the public in the focus countries has reservations on the effectiveness of the death penalty to reduce drug offences, and prefers a discretionary system of punishment. The analysis also revealed correlations between the framing of survey questions and their findings. Public opinion surveys conducted in China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand suggest that the public knows little and has little interest in the death penalty. Although majoritarian, its support is based on a faulty understanding of key facts related to capital punishment, and an increase in knowledge is correlated to a decrease in support. More rigorous polling exercises demonstrate that public support for capital punishment - both in general and for drug offences specifically - is instinctive, abstract, elastic, and contextual. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Giada Girelli. Alternative facts': Public opinion surveys on the death penalty for drug offences in selected Asian countries. The International journal on drug policy. 2021 Jun;92:103155

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    PMID: 33994308

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