Two chartered planes carrying a total of 246 Chinese from riot-torn East
Timor arrived at the Gaoqi international airport of Xiamen, a coastal city in
east China's Fujian Province Monday night.
Shi Xiaoyu and 16 of her colleagues from the
Shandong Foreign Trade Corporation arrive at Xiamen airport last night.
They were among 246 Chinese who were evacuated from turmoil-plagued East
Timor by two government planes.
Officials with China's Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Public Security,
Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and the provincial and city
governments greeted the evacuated Chinese at the airport.
The officials queued in a long line, shaking hands with the evacuees, who
waved China's national flags as they got off the planes.
"I felt so relieved when seeing them back home safely," Zhu Taoying, deputy
general director of the consulate department under the Foreign Ministry.
The evacuees, many of them serving as businessmen, engineers and workers in
East Timor, were from a dozen provinces on the Chinese mainland as well as the
Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.
At the airport entrance, provincial officials were waiting for the evacuees,
raising high plates with their names, and took them away for their hometown with
A Timorese girl looks
out from the gates of her home in the East Timor capital of Dili May 29,
2006. East Timor's government met for crisis talks on Monday as foreign
troops patrolled a tense but largely peaceful capital after a weekend of
violence by gangs allied to feuding factions of the country's armed
"I just left all my
properties there and return by the chartered plane," said Wang Deren, a mid-aged
man from Fujian Province who ran a grocery in East Timor.
Wang said he sought shelter in the Chinese embassy in East Timor after the
riot broke out. "Almost all the Chinese in East Timor fled to the embassy and we
made a big crowd there."
China's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that nearly 200 Chinese citizens
had sought shelter in the Chinese Embassy in East Timor, where they were offered
tents, food, water, medicine and other living necessities.
The youngest evacuee was a three-month-old baby girl who returned in the arms
of her uncle.
"Her parents chose to stay in East Timor taking care of their business. They
asked me to bring my little niece back to China which they believe is the safest
place under heaven," said the uncle.
The ministry said earlier that about 500 Chinese lived in East Timor, among
whom about 200 had already left.
An official with the Foreign Ministry said China will continue to closely
follow the situation in East Timor and make all efforts to ensure the safety of
the Chinese, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots, who chose to
remain in the tiny country.
Among the evacuees, 61-year-old man surnamed Zhan was a Chinese-East
Timorese. He was born in East Timor and currently serves as a member of East
Timor's chamber of commerce.
Zhan said this was the first time he was in China. "I knew little about the
People's Republic of China in the past. I didn't expect that I had the honor to
take the Chinese government's chartered plane to leave the dangers in East
The Chinese government has agreed to help him go to Macao and stay there
until peace is restored in East Timor, he added.
So far, there has been no report of Chinese citizens being injured or killed
in the riot, according to the Foreign Ministry.
To better protect Chinese overseas, the Foreign Ministry on Monday set up a
new section under its consular department to focus on providing protection and
help to these people.
Violence took place in East Timor in late April after the East Timorese
government decided to sack almost half of the country's soldiers, who protested
against poor conditions and staged a strike.
The situation in East Timor deteriorated on Thursday when at least nine
people were killed and 27 others wounded.
As a result of the turmoil at home, East Timor President Xanana Gusmao
postponed his China visit, which was originally scheduled from May 29 to June 3.
Last month, China evacuated 325 Chinese nationals, including over 20 Hong
Kong compatriots, from the unrest-hit Solomon Islands, which doesn't have
diplomatic ties with China.
East Timor, which shares a land border with Indonesia's West Timor, is a
former Portuguese colony. The country became the world's newest nation in May