Today Amnesty International released its annual report into death sentences passed down and carried out across the world.
Overall 2,466 death sentences were recorded in 2014, an increase of almost 500 on the previous year, but the number of executions carried out was 607, down from 778 in 2013. More than 19,000 people remain on death row.
Crucially, however, the figures do not include executions in China, which are a state secret and Amnesty can only estimate are in the thousands.
But by taking previous data we can see the true scale of the death penalty in the country, putting it far ahead of Iran, which admits to carrying out 289 executions, although the actual figure is thought to be much higher as well.
Chart via Statista
Amnesty International general secretary Salil Shetty said: "In a year when abhorrent summary executions by armed groups were branded on the global consciousness like never before, it is appalling that governments are themselves resorting to more executions in a knee-jerk reaction to combat terrorism and crime.
"It is shameful that so many states around the world are essentially playing with people's lives - putting people to death for 'terrorism' or to quell internal instability on the ill-conceived premise of deterrence."
More: [China executed more people than the rest of the world combined in 2013]3