China's top legislature has adopted a prisoner amnesty deal which will see thousands of war veterans as well as very old, young or infirm prisoners granted official pardons, in a move marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on Sept. 3.
The deal, promulgated by President Xi Jinping on Saturday, comes 40 years after China granted an amnesty to war criminals in 1975, and 56 years after it granted its first pardon to non-war criminals in 1959.
This is the eighth amnesty since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Four categories of prisoners who are not deemed a threat to society and who were sentenced before Jan. 1, 2015, will be considered:
1) Criminals who fought in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the civil war against the Kuomintang (KMT).
2) 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 embezzlement and bribe-taking, terrorism and organized crime, as well repeat offenders.
3) Criminals who are 75 or above, and those with physical disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.
4) Those who committed crimes while under the age of 18 and received a maximum sentence of three years in prison, or who have less than a year of their prison term to serve, with the exception of those convicted of homicide, rape, terrorism or narcotics offences.
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's top legislature, reviewed a draft of the resolution during a bimonthly session that started on Monday. The lawmakers voted on it on Saturday.
Li Shishi, director of the committee's legislative affairs commission, made clear while briefing the session that the amnesty is designed to exclude people guilty of embezzlement and bribe-taking, as China continues a campaign against official corruption.