High-profile China prison rapped for lack of ideological zeal

High-profile China prison rapped for lack of ideological zeal

Gu Kailai, the wife of former top Communist Party official Bo Xilai, is among the high-profile
Gu Kailai, the wife of former top Communist Party official Bo Xilai, is among the high-profile inmates at Yancheng prison AFP/MARK RALSTON

BEIJING: A Chinese prison for high-profile detainees, including the wife of former top Communist Party official Bo Xilai, has come under fire for its lack of programmes to educate inmates on "Xi Jinping thought".

Yancheng prison in northern Hebei Province, about 40 kilometres from Beijing, holds former government officials, foreigners and ordinary criminals, the state-run Global Times reported.

Problems found at the facility after an inspection last week include "the lack of in-depth study and implementation of Xi Jinping's socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics", the Ministry of Justice said in a statement Friday.

Xi, who has accumulated titles to become China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has pushed for ideology-based training at prisons, detention centres and universities in recent years.

China's rubber-stamp parliament in March approved the inclusion of Xi's political philosophy alongside that of Mao and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in the constitution.

Yancheng prison was also criticised for rampant red tape and the lack of an "unswerving spirit" to implement the instructions of "central leading comrades such as General Secretary Xi Jinping".

The terse statement did not offer details about whether inmates were offered liberties that violated their prison sentences.

Gu Kailai, wife of the former Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai, is serving a life sentence at Yancheng after being convicted for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in 2012.

The killing sparked China's biggest political scandal in years and brought down Bo, who had been tipped to become one of the Communist Party's top national leaders.

Bo is serving a separate life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power at a hotel-style jail for China's political elite in Beijing.

Thought reform through the study of Communist ideology has been an integral part of China's prison system for decades.

Source: AFP/aa

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