Beijing, China (CNN) -- A province in northeastern China has become the first to execute convicts by injection, rather than gunshot, state-run media reported Friday.
The switch by Liaoning province is a move toward a more civilized country, the court that made the decision said, according to China Daily.
The Higher People's Court of Liaoning ordered Wednesday that all cities in the province adopt lethal injection.
China adopted injection as an alternative form of capital punishment in 1997, but gunshot still is predominately used, the paper reported.
More people are executed in China than in any other country, according to the latest Amnesty International report. At least 2,390 people were executed around the world in 2008, said the organization, which is against the death penalty.
It tallied at least 1,718 executions in China that year. Iran was second, with 346. Saudi Arabia followed with 102. And the United States was fourth, with 37.
All 35 U.S. states with the death penalty use lethal injection, but some still allow the condemned to choose electrocution, according to the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.
In most cases, a cocktail of drugs is injected into an inmate's veins. But in a first for the United States, an inmate was executed using a new, untested one-drug method this week in Ohio.