Beijing, Sep.30 (ANI): China's Vice-Foreign Minister Song Tao has said that the people of his country are increasingly becoming victims of foreign criminals and terrorists as China's profile on the world stage changes.
"We are facing a more and more complicated overseas security situation. Deteriorating regional conflicts and turbulence in some countries have directly affected the safety of our citizens and companies abroad," he was quoted as saying by the People's Daily on Tuesday.
"As many countries are suffering from the global financial crisis, Chinese people and Chinese companies are also experiencing a hard time, he added.
"In many non-traditional security accidents, such as terrorist activities, kidnapping and pirate attacks, Chinese citizens are now not only innocent victims but direct targets. More and more crimes and accidents are causing casualties and property losses for overseas Chinese," Tao said.
Last year, more than 3,400 Chinese tourists were trapped in Thailand due to domestic turbulence in November and Chinese cargo vessels were attacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
The Chinese government rented 12 passenger flights to rescue the trapped citizens in Thailand and sent a convoy of warships to Somalia.
The two actions are widely seen as the best examples of China strengthening overseas protection in recent years.
But Chinese citizens are still not the main target of the terrorist attacks in the world, Li Wei, director of the center for counter-terrorism studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the China Daily on Tuesday.
"Inadequate preparations for the complicated overseas security situation is one of the main reasons for the increasing number of accidents. Chinese visitors should know the sources of danger and find proper solutions before leaving," he said.
The annual number of overseas visits by Chinese reached more than 45 million in 2008. Between 1949 and 1979 was only 280,000, the vice minister said. (ANI)