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Prisoners' terms cut for quake work in Sichuan
By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-03 07:26

CHENGDU - The jail terms of hundreds of prisoners in Sichuan province have been reduced because of the courage they showed in saving life and property after the May 12 earthquake.

Eight of the prisoners, serving sentences in Guangyuan, Sichuan's northernmost city, were released on probation on Tuesday, the provincial prison administrative bureau said.

Altogether, 436 prisoners' terms have been cut, 605 have received merit points and 1,189 have been praised for protecting State property and/or for rescuing survivors.

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Prison officials across the province have applied to courts, seeking permission to either release such prisoners on probation or reduce their sentences.

The bureau announced recently that it would reward prisoners for their good work in quake rescue efforts.

It said it could release on probation prisoners who had short remaining terms, or cut the sentences of those who had lone or physically challenged children, or old parents to take care of.

A 43-year-old prisoner surnamed Hong in the Aba Tibet and Qiang autonomous prefecture was one of the first to be released on probation on Tuesday, Li Xinmin, a bureau official, said.

Hong was sentenced to death 17 years ago, with a two-year suspended period, for murder. But later his sentence was changed to a jail term till 2011 because of good conduct.

When the quake struck, most of the inmates fled out of the prison building. But Hong, who was taking a nap on the fifth floor, showed immense courage to carry a physically challenged inmate surnamed Li to safety.

Hong knew that the roof of the building could collapse any moment, but he ignored the danger to his own life to save a person who was crying for help, said Zhong Chuanyuan, chief of Aba prison's publicity department.