China’s Xi Mulls Amnesty for Criminals Who Fought Japan in WWII

China is considering offering criminals who helped repel Japanese invaders more than 70 years ago a get-out-of-jail-free card now.

Legislation proposed as part of events marking the end of World War II would offer amnesty to four groups of convicts, including those who served in the global conflict, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday. The program would also consider for leniency inmates younger than 18 or older than 74 and deemed not to pose a threat to society.

The measure -- the first of its kind in four decades -- comes as President Xi Jinping prepares to host a military parade through Beijing next month to mark Japan’s defeat. A similar round of amnesties that ended in 1975 freed more than 500 former Nationalist soldiers who after leading the fight against the Japanese, lost a four-year civil war to the Communists.

Criminals eligible for release under the new program include people who fought against the Nationalists, or Kuomintang. A draft of the measure was submitted on Monday to the National People’s Congress on Monday, China’s top legislature.

It’s unclear how many convicts would qualify for the program. Li Shishi, director of the legislative affairs commission for the NPC’s top Standing Committee, told a bimonthly session that those convicted of crimes such as murder, rape, terrorism, drug offenses and corruption would not qualify, according to Xinhua.

— With assistance by Keith Zhai

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