A look at Chinese peacekeepers' daily mission in Haiti

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Though collectively known as Chinese peacekeepers in Haiti, they are actually grouped into two: the formed police unit (FPU) and the civil police.

The FPU, or the riot police, consists of 125 people (now 122, after three died in the earthquake on Jan. 12). Team members are changed every eight months.

The FPU squad in Haiti for the time being, the eighth sent by the Chinese government, started its service in June 2009, with most of its members from the border defense of southwest China's Yunnan province.

Missions of the FPU are usually assigned by the United Nations, including patrol, vehicle inspection, emergency response and capturing suspects. The squad may also be involved in special tasks such as rescuing hostages, inch-by-inch search and bodyguarding.

The other group, formed by the civil police officers, is smaller in size. Seventeen people on the team (now 16, after one died in the earthquake) work separately in various departments of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Their work, mostly done in offices, is to guide and supervise the daily operations of the Haitian police.

Living and working in a collective way, FPU officers are able to organize a variety of activities in their spare time.

Apart from daily food supplies from the UN, they also have a vegetable field near their campsite, but officers from the civil police have to live on their own and feed themselves every day.

With no armed forces of its own and only a weak police force, the Haitian government relies heavily on the UN troops and police to ensure order and stability in the country.

In the devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, eight Chinese peacekeepers were killed. Four were from the resident mission, and the rest were sent on a temporary mission.

China has been engaged in international peacekeeping efforts for over a decade since a first batch of peacekeeping forces was sent to Timor Leste on Jan. 12, 2000.

Figures from China's Ministry of Public Security show that a total of 1,569 peacekeepers were assigned to peacekeeping missions in such countries and regions as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

China started its peacekeeping mission in Haiti in October 2004.

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