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Foreign inmates revel in prison's Christmas party
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Foreign inmates displaying a paper-made "bird's nest". 

According to the United Nations regulations on prisoner right protection, foreign prisoners in China enjoy international living standards, including daily showers, sports facilities and medical services.

"Their leisure time is mostly spent making handicrafts and learning Chinese," Wang said.

"The Prison also prepared a Christmas Eve dinner for them, mainly Western foods such as roast mutton, chicken, potatoes and even pizza," said Wang.

Among the joyous faces, that of 55-year-old Berhand looked exceptionally excited.

"This Christmas means a lot to me as I'm only a few months from freedom," he said.

So is Nick. "I used to go to the church on Christmas Eve for mass with my family and I'll be able to do that again soon," he said. Nick's sentence had just been reduced four years.

In prison governance, Wang said, all the foreigners are treated almost the same as their Chinese counterparts. Foreign inmates who are involved in physical conflicts must serve their sentences, but good behavior can be rewarded with mitigation.

Individual religious beliefs and customs, such as wearing beards, are respected by the Chinese prison.

About ten people share one ward, each equipped with a shower for everyday use.

The prison also offers online computers for e-mail. Many prisoners like watching English television news. Those who are capable of speaking Chinese read local newspapers. Portable radio sets are sold to prisoners who are interested in learning news and other information. Consulate officers are allowed to bring the inmates approved publications from home.

Many prisoners phone home frequently by using international calling cards purchased from the prison. Two visits per month by relatives or consulate officers are allowed, Wang said.

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