• Beijing approves prisoner amnesty

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    BEIJING: Beijing on Saturday approved a prisoner amnesty in a gesture to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in World War II, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

    The standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) adopted the measure covering thousands of war veterans as well as elderly, young or sick prisoners, the news service said.

    The country is preparing to hold a massive military parade Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in 1945. China has declared a national holiday for the day and financial markets will also be closed the following day.

    The conflict is officially known in China as the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War”.

    Citing judicial authorities, Xinhua’s report said “several thousand” prisoners are estimated to be eligible for the amnesty. The oldest prisoner is 95, it said.

    Four categories of criminals who are determined to be no threat to society are covered by the pardon, the report said.

    They include convicted veterans who fought against Japan in World War II and the ensuing Chinese civil war that ended in 1949, as well as those who fought in subsequent wars. But criminals who are guilty of “serious crimes” such as embezzlement, taking bribes, terrorism and organized crime are excluded.

    Convicted criminals 75 years of age and older as well as those having physical disabilities who are unable to care for themselves are also included in the amnesty, Xinhua said.

    Criminals who committed crimes when they were under the age of 18 and were given a maximum prison sentence of three years or who have less than one year left to serve are also included. But those convicted of homicide, rape, terrorism and narcotics crimes are excluded.

    AFP

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