China permits prisoners in Beijing jails to order food online

China has launched a new programme for prisoners in Beijing jails under which inmates can place orders online for meals on occasions when they are visited by family, a prison official said today.

Since prisoners are able to meet their family members in reward for good behaviour, they can now use the prison's intranet to choose the meals they wanted to share with their loved ones, said Feng Jiancang, head of the Human Rights in Justice office of the Institute for Crime Prevention under the Ministry of Justice.

This frees up more time for them to meet with their families, Feng added, while speaking at the fifth Beijing Forum on Human Rights, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Beijing inmates can also use the system to buy goods in prison supermarkets, now fixtures in all prisons in the city.

"Prisoners can also shop in prisons by bank card," Feng explained.
The prison intranet system is just part of the efforts made by China in improving protection of prisoners' human rights.

According to Feng, the mainland's 28 provincial regions including Beijing have established the intranet system across all local grassroots prisons.

Last year, the Ministry of Justice lifted bans on homosexuality, dyed hair and other lifestyles and practices that were previously not allowed in prisons.

China began to use lethal injection for capital punishment in 1997, and the method has by now completely replaced execution by firing squad in the provinces of Shandong, Yunnan and Liaoning, according to official statistics.

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