|China grants early release to 31,527 prisoners|
A total of 31,527 prisoners, most of whom were juveniles when they committed their crimes, have been released thanks to an amnesty deal, according to an official statement on Monday.
The measure was adopted by China's top legislature and signed by President Xi Jinping on August 29, 2015, before a national commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The pardoned prisoners, including war veterans, and the very old, young or infirm prisoners, had been released by the end of 2015 as scheduled.
According to the deal, four categories of prisoners were eligible for consideration:
-- Criminals who fought in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the civil war against the Kuomintang (KMT).
-- Criminals who participated in wars to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity after 1949, with the exception of those found guilty of serious crimes including graft, terrorism and organized crime, as well as repeat offenders.
-- Criminals who are 75 or above, and those with physical disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.
-- Those who committed crimes while under the age of 18 and received a maximum sentence of three years in prison, or have less than a year left to serve, with the exception of those convicted of homicide, rape, terrorism or narcotics offences.
Of the pardoned prisoners, 50 belong to the first category, 1,428 belong to the second, 122 to the third and 29,927 to the fourth.
With such a huge number scheduled for release, in order to avoid releasing the wrong convicts, all prisoners across the country, over 2.35 million in total, were screened for eligibility. The people's procuratorate, in charge of the entire process, did not find any abuse of power.
The official statement said the amnesty symbolized "the spirit of the rule of law and humanity," and was a successful example of governance according to law.
Basic living allowances will be provided for those released without a job, with no ability to work, source of income or anyone to provide for them.