Thousands of prisoners released in amnesty deal
Updated: 2016-01-26 03:37
A total of 31,527 prisoners, most of whom were juveniles when they committed crimes, have been released under an amnesty agreement, according to an official statement on Monday.
The agreement, decided on last year by the top legislature and signed by President Xi Jinping, was adopted to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Work on the amnesty was completed by the end of last year as scheduled, Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.
Among those released are prisoners who fought in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the Chinese civil war in the 1930s and 1940s. They are at least 80 years old.
This group is very small and does not pose a threat to society, Xinhua said in an earlier report, adding that the amnesty granted to the veterans is “apt recognition” of their contributions in both conflicts.
The majority of those released — 29,927 — committed crimes when they were under 18 and were sentenced to less than three years in prison. This group also includes minors with less than a year of their sentences remaining.
To ensure that the release of every criminal was in line with the special amnesty, judicial bodies, including courts and prison officers, made great efforts to read criminals’ files, examine judgments and verify prisoners’ identities.
For example, prisons set up more than 2,500 investigation teams.
The amnesty also conforms to the Criminal Law, which was amended in 2011 to allow leniency in punishment of the elderly.
Amnesties are granted under the Chinese Constitution, which has long stressed governing by virtue and laws.
This is the eighth amnesty granted by the People’s Republic of China since it was founded in 1949.
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