Safety of Chinese workers

Updated: 2012-02-02 08:00

(China Daily)

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The plight of 29 Chinese workers who are being held captive by rebels in Sudan has gripped the hearts of all Chinese people. Their safety and rescue have become the country's top concern.

Since their abduction five days ago, China has responded quickly.

An emergency mechanism has been activated for the rescue of the workers, who are employed by a Chinese company undertaking a road project in Sudan.

A Chinese team arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Tuesday to assist the Chinese embassy in its efforts to secure the release of the workers and hold consultations with the Sudanese authorities. China also lodged serious representations to Sudan over the incident.

It is hoped all these efforts will yield the safe return of the workers.

In another development, 25 Chinese workers who were held captive by Egyptian locals on Tuesday were freed on Wednesday. The abductions highlight the importance of safeguarding the safety of Chinese nationals working or traveling overseas.

In recent years, the number of attacks involving Chinese tourists or workers in foreign countries has been on a rise. In October, 12 Chinese sailors were brutally killed by a group of armed men on the Mekong River and earlier last year it had to evacuate more than 30,000 Chinese nationals from the escalating turbulence in Libya.

Chinese companies and individuals suffered huge losses of property and investments in Libya last year.

As our economy integrates more closely with the rest of the world, an increasing number of Chinese enterprises and individuals have launched operations or formed business ties overseas.

Statistics indicate that by the end of 2009 China had set up a total of 13,000 overseas enterprises in 177 countries and regions and its overall overseas assets are more than $1 trillion.

It has become a demanding task for the government to provide timely protection to the country's interests abroad. A country with a strong economic muscle should have the capacity to protect its citizens and interests, no matter where they are.

This is especially relevant considering tensions are growing in an increasing number of countries, threatening to boil over into armed conflicts or even regional turbulences. Overseas-bound Chinese individuals and companies should always remain vigilant and be aware of and alert to any potential risks and take sensible precautions to safeguard their lives and property.

(China Daily 02/02/2012 page8)