The Chinese Foreign Ministry has more than 4,800 staff members and more than 240 overseas organizations, who are all responsible for providing consular protection for overseas Chinese directly or indirectly, Li said.
The number of overseas Chinese is increasing sharply with China's development, whose lawful rights needs to be protected, said Li.
According to statistics, about 675,000 Chinese currently work overseas, and more than 10,000 Chinese enterprises have set up businesses in foreign countries.
An increasing number of Chinese also travel, study overseas, or visit family members. Currently, 132 out of more than 190 countries have been approved tourism destinations for Chinese citizens. In 2006, Chinese citizens paid 34.52 million visits abroad.
According to an estimation by the World Tourism Council, Chinese citizens will pay more than 100 million overseas visits in 2020.
Li said China has handled more than 30,000 consular cases in the past year, including the killing of three Chinese company employees in a terrorist attack in Pakistan, and the kidnapping of Chinese engineers by militants in Nigeria.
China also evacuated overseas Chinese from the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Tonga, he said.
"In providing consular protection services, we will follow the policy of people first and doing diplomatic work in the interests of the people," he said.
In events of serious cases, Li said the ministry will make immediate representations and send special representatives or task forces to the spot to safeguard the lawful rights of Chinese citizens.
Click the following links for more comments from the foreign minister:
China, India to Find Proper Solution to Boundary Issue
Premier Wen's Visit Important to China-Japan Cooperation
China Hopes to See Peace in Iraq and Middle East
China Ready to Consult with Japan on East China Sea Development
FM Calls Upon Iran to Step up Cooperation with IAEA
China Hopes to See Attainment of Korean Peninsula Denuclearization
China Supports Consensus on Darfur Issue
President Hu's Visit to Russia to Further Strategic Partnership
Six Parties Should Fulfill Commitments to Resolving Korean Nuclear Issue
Non-interference Necessary Condition for Harmonious World
China Sends 5,000 Peacekeepers to UN Operations
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)