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Safety of Chinese abroad on work agenda
By Dian Tai (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-20 00:45

China will take measures to ensure the security of its citizens and institutions abroad, senior Chinese officials said Monday in Beijing.

With more and more Chinese going abroad and a growing number of international terrorist incidents, the risks for Chinese people abroad, ranging from natural disasters to bombings and bloody crimes, are increasing.

All these have seriously harmed the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens, said State Councillor Zhou Yongkang at a cabinet conference.

The meeting, also attended by State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, focused on how to guarantee security of Chinese people and institutions abroad.

Zhou said an emergency mechanism should be established to avoid or lessen incidents that threaten the security of citizens and institutions abroad.

He said every one should strengthen security and protection.

Tang Jiaxuan said Chinese diplomats stationed abroad have so far done a fairly good job of providing prompt help to Chinese citizens involved in overseas troubles.

But Tang also said the country lags behind in security education and management of citizens abroad as well as in mechanisms to handle security cases related to Chinese citizens.

Tang said more work should be done to promote the security of citizens and institutions overseas.

On July 6, Zhang Qiyue, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the establishment of Department of External Security Affairs.

The department will implement the ministry's principles and policies concerning nontraditional security and co-ordinate and handle relevant foreign related issues, said Zhang.

A number of incidents in recent times have underlined the need for more security.

Eleven Chinese workers were killed and five injured on June 10 in the northeast Afghan province of Kunduz when terrorists stole into the camp of a Chinese road construction crew and sprayed workers with gunfire as they slept in tents.

On May 23, two Chinese nationals were killed and one injured when a large portion of the vaulted roof of a new passenger terminal caved in at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.

On May 3, a group of Pakistanis used a remote-controlled car bomb to attack Chinese engineers at Gwadar port, in southwestern Pakistan, killing three and injuring nine others.

On April 11, seven Chinese nationals were seized as international hostages in war-ravaged Iraq but were finally released after 36 hours as a result of the successful intervention of Chinese diplomats.

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