Déjà vu: Earthquake in Haiti Echoes in Chinese Hearts

By Liu Qiong
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Peacekeeping continues

The tragic earthquake that took the lives of eight Chinese Peacekeepers will not stop China from continuing its important mission.

"The situation in Haiti is extremely complex. Anything can happen," said Hu Yunwang, director of the Political Department, Guangdong Provincial Public Security Border Defense Corps. The 44-year-old was sent to Haiti with three other men following the earthquake to reinforce the Chinese peacekeeping police team stationed there. "To complete their unfinished work is the best way to honor the memories of our fallen comrades," he says. Within a few days of his arrival, Hu managed to lift himself and his troops out of grief, as they prepared for "the hardest challenges yet to come."

Hu led the sixth Chinese peacekeeping police anti-riot force to Haiti and completed around 200 high-risk emergency tasks. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon once praised the team as "an envoy safeguarding world peace and the pride of China." This time, Hu took over the post of late Li Qin - political commissar of China's eighth peacekeeping police anti-riot force to Haiti. When the earthquake occurred, Li Qin and three of his peacekeeping police as well as four other Chinese staff members from the delegation were meeting with UN officials at the UNMIH headquarters.

The eighth team that Li Qin formally commanded was comprised of 142 soldiers, sent to Haiti in June 2009 to implement an eight-month-long peacekeeping task. After the earthquake, the remaining men dedicated themselves to the rescue work regardless of their own safety. Wang Xueyan dug out five survivors with her own hands.

At the Haitian government's request, the UN Security Council passed a resolution to send over the UNMIH in April 2004 to contain social unrest. While at the appeal of the UN, China dispatched its first peacekeeping police anti-riot force composed of 125 members to Haiti on October 17, 2004. They complemented and supported the other international peacekeeping members and local police agencies to enforce law, deal with security emergencies, participate in major public events, and assist to form and train a local anti-riot force.

The statistics released by the Peacekeeping Affairs Office of the Ministry of Defense show that over the last 20 years, China has participated in 18 UN peacekeeping operations, with over 14,000 people involved. Thus far, there are 2,100 Chinese peacekeepers stationed in the Congo (DRC), East Timor, and Haiti. Since 1990, when China first began participating in international peacekeeping, a total of 16 Chinese peacekeepers have been killed over that period in the line of duty.

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