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Beijing female inmates keep abreast of world news via Internet
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Surfing for news has become a popular pastime for inmates of the Beijing Women's Prison since the institute went on-line this month.


On Nov. 12, the capital's only women prison established a local area network so that inmates can learn about news from the outside world from behind bars. The website also has information about prison events and policies and allows inmates to comment electronically, said Xu Xiuchang, an official with the Beijing Prison Administration Bureau publicity office on Thursday.


The jail has allocated several computer-equipped rooms for inmates and provides time for them to go on-line. Xu would not divulge how much time the women were allocated on-line each day.


A team of wardens has been put in charge of collecting and editing news and putting documents on the website.


"We try our best to post news that interests inmates and policies and laws they need to know," Xu said.


However, the network is cut off from the worldwide web and doesn't provide on-line chatting services between inmates.


The prison, in Daxing County in a southern Beijing suburb, has more than 900 inmates. It has adopted several humanitarian measures such as allowing conjugal visits by their husbands during festivals.


Last year, 12 inmates cited for good behaviour spent 24 hours with their husbands during the Spring Festival in January.


(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2007)

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