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China closely watching workers being held in Egypt, FM says

(Xinhua)

08:31, February 01, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's Foreign Ministry is paying great attention to the incident that 25 Chinese workers were held Tuesday by some local people in Egypt, and the Chinese embassy in Cairo is urgently pursuing the matter with the Egyptian side, the ministry said early Wednesday in a press release.

The Foreign Ministry launched an emergency response mechanism right after the incident and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made related working arrangements immediately, according to the press release.

The Chinese embassy in Cairo had urgently asked the Egyptian side to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals being held, work for their release as early as possible, and strengthen the security for Chinese nationals and businesses in Egypt, the press release said.

The ministry also warned Chinese institutions and people to be more wary of safety risks, and contact China's diplomatic missions in emergent situations.

Twenty-five Chinese nationals working for a cement factory in Egypt were held Tuesday by some local people in the northern Sinai town of Arish, officials at the Chinese embassy in Cairo told Xinhua.

The Chinese -- 24 workers and a translator -- were riding a bus to their plant, when they were stopped at around 11:40 a.m. local time (0940 GMT) by locals on a road in Arish and then taken to a makeshift tent nearby, commercial affairs counselor of the embassy Ma Jianchun told Xinhua.

A working team dispatched by the Chinese embassy arrived in Arish Tuesday evening.

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