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January 28, 2010

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Safe return for Haiti Chinese

A GROUP of 48 Chinese nationals who had been stranded in quake-hit Haiti arrived in Beijing yesterday with the Chinese rescue team, who have finished their mission in the Caribbean country.

The flight from Port-au-Prince arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday morning.

After the devastating quake occurred, the stranded Chinese, mostly from Fujian Province, were settled in temporary shelters by the Chinese business representative office in Haiti, and provided with food and water by Chinese peacekeepers.

A working group consisting of 23 officials from the Foreign Ministry, the China Earthquake Administration, and provincial and municipal governments had flown to Haiti on Monday to arrange to bring them home.

"We are really excited to return home. We were taken good care of by the crew and had a good rest during the trip," said Dong Zhengdong, who fled from a hotel in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

The 32-year-old was on a business trip to bid for a local bridge project. "The first three days were too hard for us. We suffered aftershocks every day and heard gunshots from time to time.

"However, we felt happy after we were found by officials from the Chinese business representative office in Haiti and the Foreign Ministry, and were brought to the field command of the Chinese peacekeepers."

Wei Wei, director of China's Foreign Ministry Consular Department, said that after the earthquake, the central government had ordered the repatriation of Chinese nationals from Haiti as soon as possible.

After the quake the Foreign Ministry asked the Chinese business representative office in Haiti to keep in close touch with Chinese nationals, provide them with shelter, food and drinking water and ensure their safety.

"We felt proud to conclude our mission of taking back the stranded compatriots," said Qiu Jian, head of the 23-strong working group.


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