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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

310 Chinese from the Solomon arrived in Mainland China

Hi folks, as we recall the burning of mostly Chinese properties and businesses last week following the election of Snyder Rini as PM, we should be reminded that the Chinese citizens who have been evacuated during the weekend have arrived safely in Mainland China. Whether they will return to the Solomon Islands in the future, or not, is a question for thought.

Below is the latest reports from Xinhua Online:

Altogether 310 overseas Chinese including 21 Hong Kong compatriots evacuated from the riot-torn Solomon Islands arrived in Guangzhou City in South China's Guangdong Province at 00:29 Tuesday morning.

They flew back from Papua New Guinea by a chartered plane of China Southern Airlines. These overseas Chinese and Hong Kong compatriots were warmly received by a special workgroup, consisting of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs of the State Council, and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

Deputy Governor of Guangdong Province Tang Bingquan and other provincial officials as well as government officials from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region also went to the airport to receive them.

Zhu Taoying, head of the special workgroup and deputy director of the Department of Consular Affairs with the Foreign Ministry, said the Chinese government has always attached great importance to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of its people abroad including compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

During the recent unrest in the Solomon Islands' capital Honiara, dozens of residences and shops in the city's Chinatown were looted and set on fire. Hundreds of local Chinese residents were forced to flee their homes. Informed about the unrest, the Chinese leaders were greatly concerned over the safety and property security of the overseas Chinese there, Zhu said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is in Saudi Arabia for a state visit, and Premier Wen Jiabao demanded the Foreign Ministry and other relevant departments to ensure the safety of overseas Chinese and the compatriots of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in the Solomon Islands, she said. "The ministry had activated its emergency mechanism and provided timely and substantive relief to the overseas Chinese and the compatriots through the Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea," Zhu added.

Upon the situation there and at the requests of the overseas Chinese and compatriots, the central government decided to charter foreign commercial airplanes to evacuate them to Papua New Guinea first, and then sent a chartered plane there to carry them back home, she said.

Tang Bingquan said the unrest in Honiara has caused severe property losses to the Guangdong people there, adding their life security was also threatened. He said the provincial government and people had closely followed the development in the Solomon Islands, and were seriously worried about the Chinese compatriots there. The provincial government and other relevant departments will provide support for the returning people as requested by the central government, Tang said.

The Hong Kong compatriots aboard the same plane to Guangzhou will return to Hong Kong by bus after a sojourn in Guangzhou.

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