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Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 23:22
China orders prison overhaul after COVID-19 outbreak
By Xinhua
Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 23:22 By Xinhua

Photo taken on Feb 21, 2020 shows the gate of Wuhan women's prison in Hubei province. (ZHU XINGXIN / CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

BEIJING / JINAN - China's Ministry of Justice will issue a circular requiring the resolute rectification of deep-seated problems in prison management, according to a statement by the ministry Wednesday.

The ministry made the statement after Chinese central authorities have concluded an investigation into the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a prison in east China's Shandong province, and released investigation results Wednesday. 

The Ministry of Justice called for resolute efforts to cut off all transmission routes of COVID-19 and wipe out the possibility of infection in prisons

Eleven people have been put under investigation after the outbreak in Rencheng prison in the city of Jining, Shangdong province.

READ MORE: Officials act to curb prison outbreaks

According to the provincial disciplinary watchdog, Xie Weijun, former head of the provincial justice department and provincial prison administration, and 10 others from the administration and Rencheng prison were investigated for alleged serious violations of discipline and law.

Three judicial officers are also being investigated for crimes including dereliction, while a prison guard and a prison employee are being investigated for the crime of impairing the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The Ministry of Justice called for resolute efforts to cut off all transmission routes of COVID-19 and wipe out the possibility of infection in prisons, read the statement.

Checks and investigations should not become a mere formality under any circumstances to prevent officers with illness from working in the prison, according to the ministry.

ALSO READ: Vice-minister blames China prison virus on mismanagement

It demanded closed management of prisons, where prison officers currently on duty will not be rotated and any supportive personnel from outside will be banned from entering, till the end of the epidemic.

Cadres at all levels will be held accountable for belated reports of the epidemic in prisons and any dereliction of duties that cause serious consequences, according to the ministry. 


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