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Foreign inmates revel in prison's Christmas party
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As Christmas carols are sung in a large part of the world, a group of foreign prisoners in a Shanghai jail are also celebrating the festival in their own way, performing at a party.

Foreign inmates are decorating the stage.

In a meeting room decorated with Christmas trees, lights and balloons, 98 prisoners from the United States, Singapore, India, Nigeria and other foreign countries performed on Wednesday Chinese folk songs, yoga and magic tricks at a party organized by the Qingpu Prison in Shanghai.

Louis, a 39-year-old Cameroonian who was sentenced to four years jail in 2007 for credit card fraud, presented the famous Peking opera Sha Jia Bang and folk song Jasmine Flower.

"My Christmas wish is to be with my family as soon as possible," said Louis, who has learned to speak Chinese after a year in prison.

The Qingpu Prison started to take in non-Chinese criminals in 1998 and now has 98 foreign prisoners from 31 countries, said Wang Weihua, head guard for the prison's non-Chinese wards.

China's law rules those who commit crimes in Chinese territories are subjected to the legal provisions stipulated in the Criminal Law of China.

So far, there are more than 3,000 non-Chinese prisoners serving sentences in China in about 20 prisons across the country, Wang said.

Nick, an Australian who was sentenced in 2001 to 15 years for business- contract fraud, spent his eighth Christmas in prison.

"Managers of the prison are taking Christmas more seriously than before," he said. "The gatherings have been different each time."

For effective communication with the inmates, all of the nine guards are able to speak English, five of whom speak two foreign languages, Wang said.

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