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Rescued Chinese Hostage Returns Home from Pakistan

Wang Ende, one of the two Chinese engineers held hostage in Pakistan's western tribal belt, returned to China Friday night.

In a military operation launched by Pakistan forces Thursday to free the Chinese hostages, Wang Ende was injured, and Wang Peng, the other hostage, was killed.

Wang Peng's wife Meng Dequn also arrived together with Wang Ende.

The body of Wang Peng has left Islamabad Saturday for Jinan, capital city of China's eastern Shandong Province, Wang's hometown.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met Wang and Meng at the airport, extending the sincere condolence of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The Chinese government and leaders attached great importance to the Chinese hostage issue, and urged the Pakistani side to properly solve it, Wu said, adding that the Chinese Foreign Ministry also made great efforts to keep close contacts with the Pakistani side.

The Chinese side was in great grief for the death of Wang Peng, and expressed sympathy for his wife, Wu noted.

Wu expressed his welcome for Wang Ende's return to motherland, saying that Chinese engineers and technological personnel working in Pakistan made important contribution to promote the friendly cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani peoples.

Wang and Meng expressed their appreciation for the concern of Chinese leaders.

Gunmen kidnapped Wang Ende and Wang Peng last Saturday near Jandala in Pakistan's restive South Waziristan Tribal Agency bordering Afghanistan.

The engineers had been working on a water dam and a canal in the region for the China National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Group Corporation.

Pakistani security forces are undertaking the hunting for Abdullah Mehsud, the brain behind the scene of the abduction of two Chinese engineers, Interior Minister Ahmad Sherpao told Xinhua Saturday.

"We are hopefully to nab the mastermind of the tragedy very soon," the minister said while talking to Xinhua at the conclusion of the farewell ceremony for the body of Wang Peng.

Military forces are netting the terror element in the South Waziristan tribal region, said the minister.

The Pakistani side had made all efforts to achieve the safe release of the hostages through negotiations, he said.

After all the peaceful bids failed, he added, the security personnel launched the action.

"And unfortunately, one of our Chinese friends expired," said the minister.

Abdullah Mehsud, the brain behind the abducting scene, has spent over a year in US detention in Guantanamo for his involvement in the fight with US troops in 2001 in neighboring Afghanistan.

He was freed in March this year and resumed command of a team of militants in the South Waziristan.

The hostage crisis attracted intensive coverage by Chinese media and received concerns from Chinese citizens.

Wu Jun, a 26-year-old Chinese young man who has been assigned to travel to Tunis next month, grieved for a whole day when he heard of the death of the kidnapped Chinese engineer Wang Peng Friday.

He told Xinhua he felt very sad for the loss of such a young life and furious over the brutal kidnapping.

"I have been watching this closely, and I feel really bad for Wang Peng's death," he said.

Wu said he will be extremely careful in Tunis because the kidnapping made him realize that Chinese working overseas were no longer as safe as before.

"I will be very alert to protect myself, and I will help the people around to raise their awareness of self-protection," Wu said.

Sun Jing, an English editor working at a Chinese encyclopedia publishing house, said that she would always remember the day that a Chinese life was lost for nothing, urging local governments to do a better job of protecting foreigners.

"I understand that Pakistan made great efforts to save Wang's life, but I still wish that the young man could have had a chance to escape, she said.

Security experts urged Chinese sent to work abroad to further increase their awareness of individual security and the risks in foreign lands.

"There is no absolute safe place for Chinese now," said Prof. Jin Canrong with the International Relations College of Chinese People's University in Beijing.

He said Chinese businesses engaged in overseas projects should put the lives of their employees as a priority and enhance security systems.

"As Wang's colleague who worked in Pakistan for five years, I felt heartbroken when I heard his death," said an anonymous on Xinhua's website.

The writer expressed the hope that the several hundred Chinese engineers in Pakistan could accomplish their mission and come home safe and sound as soon as possible.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2004)

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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