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Safety of Chinese Abroad Discussed

China is taking steps to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and institutions abroad, senior officials said Monday in Beijing.

Increasing numbers of Chinese are traveling abroad just as the number of international terrorist incidents is rising. Natural disasters and crime pose additional risks.

All these seriously endanger the persons and property of Chinese citizens, said State Councilor Zhou Yongkang at a cabinet conference.

The meeting, also attended by State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, focused on how to guarantee security of Chinese people and institutions abroad.

Zhou said an emergency mechanism should be established to stop or ameliorate incidents that threaten security.

Tang said that diplomats stationed abroad have done a fairly good job of providing prompt help to Chinese citizens involved in trouble overseas. But he also noted that the country lags in security education and management of citizens abroad as well as in mechanisms to handle security cases related to Chinese citizens.

On July 6, Zhang Qiyue, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced the establishment of the Department of External Security Affairs. It will implement the ministry's principles and policies concerning nontraditional security, and coordinate and handle related issues.

(China Daily July 20, 2004)

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