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Chinese UN peacekeepers head to Haiti
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When she heard that her predecessors had to place guns under their pillows to sleep peacefully, Zhu Hua got worried.

But the policewoman, who has taught at a Shanghai police academy for eight years, persevered.

"It has been a dream of mine since I graduated in 2000, to be a peacekeeper," said the 28-year-old yesterday.

"It has taken me five years to qualify as one, including learning better-than-average English."

Zhu's mother described her only daughter as "very independent" and one with "great ambitions".

Her daughter is part of a group of 18 police officers from Shanghai to be sent to Haiti for a UN peacekeeping operation, the first time a Chinese municipality organized a team for such missions.

The peacekeepers, chosen from 100 candidates from units such as the special armed police, criminal investigation, professional teaching, exit and entry administration and traffic control, will serve out a yearlong tour.

With an average age of 31, the officers received special training on local laws and UN obligations, the history of peacekeeping missions, local culture, language, driving and shooting skills.

UN peacekeepers are charged with tasks including keeping public order, safeguarding VIPs and dealing with public security emergencies.

Since the 1990s, China has become increasingly involved in UN peace missions and the size of Chinese peacekeeper contingents has been growing.

"China has been involved in international affairs and implementing global obligations by taking part in the worldwide peacemaking operations," Shanghai public security bureau chief Zhang Xuebing said at a ceremony yesterday to see off the peacekeepers.

"This is of great significance," he added.

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