35,860 Chinese nationals in Libya evacuated: FM

08:42, March 03, 2011      

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One of 340 Chinese evacuees waves a national flag as boarding on a plane in Cairo, Egypt, March 2, 2011. All Chinese citizens evacutated from Libya to Egypt have been sent back to China as an Air China charter plane with the 340 people took off on Wednesday. (Xinhua)

A total of 35,860 Chinese citizens had been evacuated from Libya as of 11:10 p.m. Wednesday Beijing Time, Vice Chinese Foreign Minister Song Tao told the press here Wednesday.

This means all Chinese who desired to go back and whose whereabouts were known by the foreign ministry have been evacuated from Libya, said Song.

It was the largest and the most complicated overseas evacuation ever conducted by the Chinese government since the People's Republic of China was founded on Oct. 1, 1949, he said.

These accomplishments, achieved in no more than ten days, are attributed to cooperation across all related ministries, local authorities, military as well many Chinese enterprises, he said.

He also gives credit to China's peaceful foreign policy, which makes China a popular country in the community of nations.

He expressed thanks to all the help and support provided by a number of countries over the past several days, and noted that China has also helped 12 countries to evacuate about 2,100 of their citizens, living up to its international humanitarian responsibility.

Among those who had been been taken out of Libya, 20,745 returned to their homeland, said Song.

As soon as the situation demands action, the Chinese government established a task force, headed by Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, to ensure effective evacuation of all the stranded Chinese, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

When the first chartered plane took off from Beijing last Wednesday, an all-out effort made by the Chinese government to bring all of its citizens back to home from danger and chaos by air, land or sea, was put into gear.

Throughout the evacuation, countries like Greece, Malta, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan have kindly offered their help in either providing transportation or facilitating temporary shelter.

China's enterprises investing in Libya like China Communications Construction Group as well as China Railway Construction Corporation have also contributed a lot to organizing an effective withdrawal.

To speed up the pulling-out, China also sent its navy and air force to be a part of this unprecedented evacuation effort.

Song said the Chinese government would continue to send chartered planes to bring back those Chinese taking temporary shelter in the neighboring countries.

Source: Xinhua

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