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Chinese UN peacekeepers head to Haiti
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Xia Niandong, a peacekeeping veteran, knows how tough each mission can be.

Hazards include epidemic outbreaks from unsanitary conditions of peacekeeping areas, social instability and rampant crime.

"It could be very dangerous, but also a good personal experience," said the 32-year-old, who was also struck by malaria during a 2002 mission in East Timor.

"Peacekeeping is a sacred and honorable task. It's a hard-won opportunity for me and also for the Chinese police," Xia said.

His wife, Zhang Haiping, and several colleagues were also present at the seeing off ceremony yesterday.

With their baby girl her arms, Zhang said she supported her husband's mission "100 percent", though she was initially hesitant when she first learned of his decision to take on the role.

"It was difficult for me," she said. "He went on the first mission in East Timor shortly after we got married. Now, he will be leaving when our daughter is only 2 years old."

Zhang helped collect information on Haiti and bought supplies to help her husband prepare for his tour.

"I will be his backup force at home," she said.

(China Daily July 18, 2008)

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