China's first team of peacekeepers to the west African nation of Liberia, composed of five policemen, will set off on Nov. 30, according to sources from the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
It will be the first time China has dispatched peacekeeping police to Africa, which was at the request of the United Nations (UN) and approved by the State Council.
The UN Security Council in September unanimously voted for the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in war-torn Liberia for one year. Currently, 29 countries, including China, the United Sates and Britain, have decided or already sent peacekeeping police to Liberia, bringing the number of peacekeepers there to 1,200.
According to the MPS, the first five policemen to be dispatched to Africa come from public security departments in Hunan, Hubei, Shandong and Guangdong provinces.
They were selected from the entire civilian police force all over the country and passed special tests administered by UN peacekeeping officials. All five could speak English and four had been members of China's previous peacekeeping force to former Yugoslavia areas and East Timor.
The peacekeepers in Liberia will help supervise the enforcement of the cease-fire agreement by the country's various parties, protect the security of the public and UN staff, maintain basic human rights, assist the state police in reforms and the country's restoration, and offer training to local police.
The five policemen will be equipped with helmets, flak jackets, batons, first-aid kits, sleeping bags and camp beds, which will allow them to work and survive safely and independently.
Meng Hongwei, assistant to the Minister of Public Security, called on the five Chinese peacekeepers to strictly abide by UN rules and local laws and to perform their duties earnestly, during his meeting with them Wednesday.
Since January 2000, the Chinese government has sent 214 police to participate in UN peacekeeping missions.