|Press Release of the Chinese Embassy in the United States(01/16/10)|
China Takes An Active Part in International Rescue and Relief Efforts in Haiti
January 16 2010
A powerful earthquake struck Haiti on the afternoon of January 12 local time, causing tremendous casualties and property losses. The Chinese personnel who were working with the UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti, the Bureau of Commercial Development of the People's Republic of China in Haiti and some Chinese companies were in grave danger. The Chinese Government and people have been following the situation in Haiti closely, expressed deep sympathy to the Haitian government and people and were deeply concerned about the safety of Chinese nationals in Haiti. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders gave the instruction to get the real picture on the ground, try every means to rescue those who were buried, ensure the safety of Chinese personnel, compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese, and provide humanitarian assistance to Haiti. Chinese Foreign MinisterYang Jiechi sent a letter of condolences to the Haitian Foreign Minister, extending deep sympathy of the Chinese side. Minister Yang also sent a letter of sympathy to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the heavy casualties of UN peacekeepers and civil personnel.
Following the earthquake, Chinese peacekeepers in Haiti immediately joined the rescue efforts on the ground. On the evening of January 12, a 60-member Chinese search and rescue team consisting of rescue experts, medical personnel and earthquake experts left for Haiti. The special plane they were traveling with also carried search and rescue equipment and large amount of relief supplies and medicine. Shortly after that, the Red Cross Society of China announced US$1 million of emergency humanitarian aid to Haiti. The Chinese Government pledged RMB 30 million (about US$4.41 million) of relief supplies, which would be flew to Haiti in batches by special planes. The first shipment that includes medicine, tents, emergency light units and water purification devices is on the way to Haiti. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security have sent emergency taskforces respectively to join the rescue and relief operations in Haiti. The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and relevant Chinese overseas diplomatic missions are also actively involved. The Red Cross Society of China, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and other NGOs in China have started to accept donations from the Chinese people.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong and all Embassy staff, strictly following the instructions from Beijing, have been keeping a close watch on the situation as well as the rescue and relief efforts in Haiti, working in coordination with the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Bureau of Commercial Development of China in Haiti and working actively to support the relief efforts. The Embassy had acted promptly to contact the US side to ensure that the special plane carring the Chinese rescue team could fly over the US territory and arrive at Port-au-Prince as early as possible, making the Chinese team one of the first foreign rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. By the night of January 16 local time, the Chinese team had pulled out some survivors buried under the rubble, assisted the injured and excavated the bodies of some victims, including Hedi Annabi, Head of UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa and eight Chinese personnel (including four officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security who were visiting Haiti and four Chinese peacekeepers). The Embassy had also worked closely with the US administration and other parties on the transit of a Chinese plane carrying relief supplies. The plane had arrived at Port-au-Prince on the early morning of January 17 local time and the supplies will be soon delivered to the affected people.
The Chinese Government and people have never forgotten that following the devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan, China on May 12 2008, the international community including Haiti extended their sympathies and condolences to China and provided assistance in various forms. We share the grievances that the people in Haiti are experiencing. China will continue to work with the international community and do as much as it can to support the people in Haiti with their relief efforts and help them rebuild their homes.
China and Haiti have no diplomatic relations. However, the Chinese people always cherish friendly sentiment toward the people in Haiti. China and Haiti had opened bureau of commercial development in each other's capital in January 1997 and February 1998 respectively. Since October 2004, the Chinese Government dispatched eight peacekeeping and anti-riot police teams to Haiti at the request of the United Nations. Their work has been widely commended by the United Nations, the Haitian government and people as well as the international police community. There are now 121 Chinese peacekeeping police working in Haiti (not including the four officers who died in the earthquake).