China urges Libya to restore social stability

Beijing, Feb 22 (AP) China expressed concern todayabout the safety of Chinese citizens and businesses in Libyaafter one of its construction companies was reportedly lootedand its workers run off by gunmen.

The official Xinhua News Agency said President HuJintao ordered "all-out efforts" to protect Chinese in Libyaand the State Council, China''s Cabinet, ordered an emergencyteam be set up to coordinate the evacuation of any strandedChinese.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu toldreporters at a regular news briefing that some Chinesecitizens have been injured amid the unrest and businessesdamaged.

Ma urged Libya to "restore social stability andnormalcy as soon as possible and spare no effort to protectthe safety of Chinese people, organizations and assets inLibya."Unidentified gunmen entered a construction site in thenortheastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya on Sunday night, lootedcomputers and other goods and drove off the 1,000 workersemployed by the China Huafeng Company, said reports on web site and in other media.

China has a large and growing presence in Libya, as itdoes in much of Africa. The China Youth Daily and other statemedia said some 30,000 Chinese nationals were in Libya.

Chartered Chinese planes, ships and even fishing boatsoperating near Libya were being rallied to bring necessary aidand to bring Chinese out of the country if necessary, Xinhuasaid.

The Chinese Embassy in Tripoli urged its citizens tobe careful in the midst of the "rioting and beating, smashing,looting and arson." Ma, the government spokesman, called onLibya to investigate the attacks on Chinese interests andpunishment of those involved.

The chaos in Libya spilled over to its diplomaticmission in China where at least one diplomat has resigned.

Diplomat Hussein El-Sadek El-Mesrati said he quit his post atwhat he called the "Hitler Embassy.""About four days before, when I see on TV, my people,killed by the Hitler Qadafi," said El-Mesrati, who did not saywhat position he held. "I tell him, ''Finished! Game over! Getout! Get out! Go in Israel. Israel. Go, go! Your people inIsrael, not in Arab people. Finished!"Outside the Libyan mission, in a neighborhood ofembassies in Beijing, El-Mesrati and about a dozen otherpeople, some of whom identified themselves as Libyan studentsin China, gathered in protest, as nervous police keptreporters and onlookers away. Three women held up cardboardsigns with Arabic writing. (AP)

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