China awards peacekeeping police killed in Haiti 'martyrs'

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China announced Tuesday that it awarded the eight peace-keeping police killed in the Haiti earthquake the title of "martyr" as their bodies were brought home Tuesday morning Beijing time.

The awards were jointly approved by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the MPS said in a statement on its website.

"The peace-keeping police who tragically died were always devoted to their missions; they respectfully completed many urgent, difficult, dangerous and arduous tasks; they have made a great contribution to safeguarding world peace," read the statement.

It also said that compensation would be handed out, which was standard government procedure in such instances.

Bodies of the seven policemen and a policewoman arrived in Beijing on a chartered China Southern Airlines flight.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, have expressed their grief and condolences for the dead.

More than 500,000 people are feared dead after the 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean island country Jan.12 local time.

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