An inmate at a prison in Lhasa has become the first person to get married behind bars in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the prison said.
The prisoner is a 34-year-old man serving a sentence for robbery at the regional prison. The facility did not release his name to protect his identity.
After learning that the inmate was pessimistic about his life, prison officers approached his girlfriend to ask for her help. She later frequently spoke to him over phone calls.
The man proposed to her in September last year and although he has to serve another 16 years, his girlfriend said yes. The prison granted him permission to have his wedding at the facility.
On Jan. 22, the couple obtained a marriage certificate at the Chengguan district marriage registry office in Lhasa, and took a wedding photo at the office wearing traditional robes.
The wedding ceremony took place the same day later in the afternoon in the education room of the prison. Prison guards and officials decorated the room with balloons, flowers and a traditional Tibetan chema box that symbolizes good luck.
The couple tied the knot in front of witnesses including the bride's sister and more than 50 inmates and prison officials. The guests offered them white hadas as blessings.
As wedding music was played, guests shared fruits, beverages and watched a slide show of fond moments of how the couple got together. Officers took photos and videos of the ceremony and shared them with the couple.
"Thanks for not giving up on me. You are the light when I was in the darkness," the groom told his bride at the ceremony.
"I've seen too many divorces, and this is the first time I have attended a prison wedding. It would not have happened had it not been for the help of the prison officers. I really want to reunite with my family as soon as possible," said another inmate.
Pu Xiaoyan, a deputy warden who presided over the wedding ceremony, said the wedding, the first of its kind in a Tibetan prison, greatly boosted the spirits of the people in the facility. "It reflected the care of the facility and the law enforcers," she said.
"Though the prisoners have to serve time, they eventually have to reenter society, so it is important to enlist the help of society in the facility," said Pu.
"I hope the husband will maintain strong confidence and that his wife will continue supporting him and help him move on," she said.
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