A U.S.-based human rights group says that China has made "dramatic progress" in reducing the use of the death penalty, but says the country still puts to death more people than any other country in the world.

The Dui Hua foundation said in a report Tuesday that China has has reduced by half its number of executions since 2007, but the organization still estimates that China executes more than 4,000 people every year.

The group also urged China to be more transparent with its death penalty figures, which are a closely guarded state secret. It says China's use of the death penalty will be more quickly abolished if the public and officials know the "full extent" of its use.

The Chinese government issued an order in 2007 that gave the Supreme People's Court the authority to review all death sentences, leading to about 10 percent of those sentences being overturned.

Earlier this year, China's highest court issued new guidelines to reduce the number of executions. China's legislature also reduce the number of crimes that carry the death penalty from 68 to 55. 

However, executions are still carried out as punishment for some non-violent crimes such as drug trafficking and corruption.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.