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Inside 'mysterious' Yancheng Prison

(People's Daily Online)    14:01, September 23, 2016
Inside 'mysterious' Yancheng Prison

Yancheng Prison, located in Yanjiao, Hebei province, is often described by Western media as a mysterious or ominous place. Recently, a few citizens got the chance to look inside the prison and learn about the daily lives of prisoners.

The prison has recently been in the public eye, following two high-profile cases. The first was the imprisonment of Bogu Kailai, wife of convicted former politburo member Bo Xilai. The second was former vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association, Nan Yong.

In fact, prisoners at Yancheng Prison include foreign criminals, economic criminals and those who commit ordinary offenses. Life in the prison is different from the grim-faced prisoners and high walls that many citizens might imagine. Behind the prison is a vegetable field and orchard where the prisoners grow organic plants. Their lunch usually includes two different dishes and one bowl of soup, all chosen for their balanced nutrition. The prison also provides mental health facilities to the inmates.

Cells at Yancheng Prison look like college dormitories for eight people, with the added safety consideration of no sharp edges on the bunks. Good personal hygiene allows prisoners to gradually reduce their sentences.

Meanwhile, the inmates learn different skills so that it's easier for them to find jobs when they are released. One foreign prisoner kept a journal for the duration of his stay, and later published a book based on what he wrote. Another prisoner, who never even got to attend middle school, became a painter after all his time practicing behind bars.


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(Web editor: Ma Danning, Bianji)

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