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Classics help reeducate city prisoners

PRISONERS in Shanghai's jails are setting aside one day a week to study classics such as "Three-Word Chant" and "Rules for Being a Good Student" - morality books for Chinese children, today's Oriental Morning Post reported.

Wardens praised the study as effective. "What prisoners need most is moral education," said an officer surnamed Ma with Baoshan District Prison.

"They help prisoners better control their tempers and remain calm," agreed Lei Yongjun with Qingpu District Prison, one of more than 10 lecturers touring the city's prisons to teach the classics.

Disputes among prisoners have declined since the lessons started, according to inmate Jin Yi (not his real name) who is serving time for financial fraud.

The study was initially compulsory, but now many prisoners love the lessons and it's inspired them to read more, Jin told the newspaper.

"I hope I'll become a writer after getting out of prison," he said, adding that his background would make it hard to return to the financial industry.

Beijiao Prison in Changchun City, in northeast China's Jilin Province, was the first in China to introduce Confucius classics to prisoners in 2005.


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