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China safe for foreigners, FM spokesman says
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19:16, March 06, 2008

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A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Beijing Thursday China will ensure foreign tourists' safety during the Beijing Olympics in August.

"Especially on the occasion of the Beijing Olympics, there will be a great number of foreign tourists here and we will definitely take more effective measures in this regard," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular press conference.

China has always attached great importance to the legal rights and interests of foreigners in China, Qin said in response to a question concerning Wednesday's hijacking involving 10 Australian tourists in northwest Chinese city of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province.

A Chinese man armed with explosives hijacked a tourist bus in a downtown square, taking an Australian tourist and a translator as hostage. Police shot and killed the man after unsuccessful negotiating. No one else was hurt.

Further investigation on the case is underway, Qin said.

Qin also expressed sympathy and solicitude for the Australians involved in the case. "I sincerely hope they will come to travel in China again and won't consider China unsafe just because of this case."

"China is a safe place for foreigners and we will continue to provide a sound and safe environment for them to work, study, live and travel in the country."

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday he was pleased the hostage crisis was resolved so quickly and the hostages were safe.

Xi'an, one of China's most popular tourist destinations, is most famous for the terra-cotta figures from the tomb of Qinshihuang, China's First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 to 207 B.C.) and the man who effectively created the state of China over 2,000 years ago.

Source: Xinhua

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