The Chinese State Council set up a conference Thursday aimed at safeguarding Chinese citizens and establishments abroad amid increasing attacks against Chinese nationals.
The conference, attended by ministries under the jurisdiction of the Chinese State Council, will take charge of formulating policies and measures and dealing with major events concerning the safety and protection of citizens and organizations overseas.
"With the deepening of China's opening-up and reform policy, the number of Chinese citizens and organizations abroad has increased rapidly," said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the inaugural joint meeting.
In 1978 just 200,000 Chinese citizens went abroad. In 2003 the figure rose to 20.2 million, 100 times that it was 25 years ago.
"China cares much about the Chinese people's interests and thinks much of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations overseas," Li said.
The number of attacks against Chinese citizens and establishments overseas has gone up in recent years as China's profile has grown worldwide. Last month, two Chinese engineers were held hostage in Pakistan's restive South Waziristan Tribal Agency bordering Afghanistan with one killed and the other injured in a rescue raid by Pakistani military forces.
(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2004)