02/23/2011, 00.00
LIBYA – CHINA
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Beijing organising exodus of 33,000 Chinese from Libya, Taiwanese too

Aircraft, cargo ships and fishing boats are moving towards Libya to evacuate Chinese nationals living in the North African country. Tunisian, Turkish and other workers are fleeing the country as well.

Tripoli (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China will send a jet, ships and fishing vessels from nearby waters to evacuate some 33,000 Chinese nationals working in violence-torn Libya. The government has set up an emergency unit headed by Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang to coordinate the repatriation of mainlanders, as well as people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The State Council (cabinet) “decided to immediately deploy chartered civil aircraft, COSCO cargo ships in nearby waters, and Chinese fishing vessels carrying needed living and medical supplies”, the Ministry said.

China will also lease “nearby large-scale passenger cruise ships and buses” to help in the evacuation effort.

A spokesman for China’s Embassy in Libya said dozens of Chinese citizens have been injured since the unrest broke out about a week ago, and 15 of them are now in hospital.

Beijing has also called on Tripoli to ensure the safety of its nationals after hundreds of construction workers in eastern Libya were attacked, robbed and forced to escape on foot towards Tripoli.

“China has made urgent representations to the Libyan side, requiring it to conduct investigations [into the attacks] and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

The Chinese are not the only foreigners fleeing the country. Thousands of Tunisians are crossing the border into Tunisia, whilst 3,000 Turks are waiting to be evacuated.

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