China lets prisoners go home for New Year

Dozens of inmates in northwestern China will be temporarily released from jail to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Beijing: Dozens of inmates in northwestern China will be temporarily released from jail to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year at home with their families as a reward for their good behaviour.

In Ningxia Hui autonomous region, a total of 66 inmates who have behaved well and have less than two years left of their prison terms will be granted five days` leave to reunite with family members during Spring Festival, said authorities.

Spring Festival, which begins Jan 23 this year, is China`s most important holiday, with hundreds of millions of people returning to their hometowns to reunite with family members.

The inmates will be released Jan 22, the eve of lunar New Year.

Since 2009, 551 inmates have been allowed to leave for holidays, some for Spring Festival, others for the National Day holiday in October. All of them returned to prison when their vacation ended.

"It turned out that our worries were unnecessary," said Zhou Gang, an official who added they had feared that the convicts might take the chance and escape.

"None of them ran away, and they were not even late back," Zhou said.

According to Zhou, another 400 prisoners, who also behaved well but have more than two years of jail terms left, were allowed to have their family members with them in prison to celebrate the festival.

IANS

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