The story appears on

Page A3

February 21, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Ex-cons get new break in Liaoning

ZHANG Lixiang has hired more than 200 ex-convicts to work in his second-hand automobile market since 1993 -- and he has no regrets, even though he knows they might cause trouble.

"Most ex-cons are eager to find jobs and get back to normal life after leaving prison," Zhang said recently from his business in Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

"But many are bad-tempered and poorly educated, traits partly the cause of their crimes -- assault and robbery and stealing," he said.

Zhang is one of more than 200 employers in the province who are part of a campaign to rehabilitate former prisoners.

Liaoning's crime rate was the highest in China in 2003, with the number of homicides in the province exceeding 2,000, official statistics show.

Tong Fu, an official with the Politics and Law Committee of Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, said in trying to reduce the crime rate, the government checked out ex-convicts' living conditions and job status.

"We have contacted 50,602 ex-convicts in Liaoning since 2004 and helped get jobs for 48,434 of them," Tong said.

He said the committee registered 1,970 retired civil servants, teachers and entrepreneurs as volunteers to keep in touch with the ex-convicts.

The campaign has paid off and as a result crime rates involving ex-convicts in the province fell from 2.2 percent in 2004 to 0.5 percent in 2009 with only 30 re-offenders. The turnaround earned it a reputation for giving ex-convicts a second chance.

Zhang has to make special rules for his ex-con employees: no drinking and no dining out.

"If they drink, they get more fractious. And if I don't make stricter rules for them than other employees, I might be accused of being an irresponsible employer -- that is, hiring people with criminal records," Zhang said.

But the tough boss also has his soft side, and the workers appreciate it.

"He has spent all important holidays and festivals with us. He even gave my parents presents on their birthdays," said Tang Shubin, who was in jail for six years for assault.

Tang has worked for Zhang for four years as a security guard in the Shenyang auto market. "He not only gave me this job, but also restored my sense of dignity," said Tang.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend