BEIJING- Courts in southern China have sentenced 25 people to death in a string of kidnapping cases, including one in which the victim died, state media reported.
The verdicts in the nine cases were handed down in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, the Xinhua news agency said late Thursday.
The report gave scant details about the cases, but mentioned that one kidnap victim died due to the "defendants' violence".
The family in that case was awarded more than 150,000 yuan (22,000 dollars) in compensation, it said.
The two courts sentenced another 26 people to jail terms of up to 20 years, the report said.
The number put to death in China is a closely guarded state secret.
Rights groups say China executes more prisoners each year than the rest of the world combined.
Amnesty International put the total for 2008 at more than 1,700, based on press reports.
According to Amnesty, there are 68 crimes in China that are punishable by death, including non-violent offences such as fraud, bribery and drugs charges.