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Beijing to Provide Accommodations for Beggars as Winter Comes

Vagrants and beggars in Beijing will be given accommodation and meals as the winter temperature drops to minus degree, according to the municipal relief administration center.

The center announced that as of Thursday evening, staff in the city's 18 relief stations will seek out vagrants and beggars. Each station is to reinforce street patrols, check the identities of vagrants and beggars, and provide them with beds and meals. The centers will provide tickets home once identities are confirmed.

Beijing has helped about 57,000 vagrants and beggars since 2003, when China introduced a policy that replaced the "custody and repatriation" system.

"Custody and repatriation" was an administrative procedure, established in 1982, under which the police could detain people who lacked a residence permit or temporary living permit and return them to their place of legal registration.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2008)

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