Ministry: Nation mobilizing support for Chinese overseas
April 23,2020   By:China Daily

Some of the 180 teenage Chinese students arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Sunday after taking a chartered flight from San Francisco as part of China's plan to bring young Chinese students back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily)
April 23,2020 -- China has fully mobilized all kinds of resources to provide timely assistance and support for its overseas citizens amid the health threat caused by the spread of the COVID-19 disease globally, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday.
"Since the outbreak, Chinese leaders have urged their foreign counterparts to take effective measures to guarantee the health and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and facilitate their stay in other countries," Geng told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
According to the spokesman, President Xi Jinping has had 40 phone conversations with 32 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations. Premier Li Keqiang has had 12 phone talks with 11 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has had 66 phone calls with foreign ministers of 46 countries and three international organizations chiefs.
"The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government always put Chinese compatriots' lives and health as their top priority," Geng said.
He said that Chinese diplomatic missions overseas are in close contact with diplomatic, public health, education, police and immigration authorities in host countries to coordinate assistance for Chinese citizens.
The ministry's consular helpline 12308 has received nearly 170,000 calls in the past two months, three times the number in the same period last year, he said.
According to Geng, Chinese embassies and consulates in several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan and Germany, have organized heads of the diplomatic missions or Chinese medical experts to carry out virtual exchanges with local compatriots, students and employees of Chinese companies, to provide them with professional suggestions and psychological counseling.
Given that the pandemic situation is severe in some countries, he said that extra flights have been sent to bring back Chinese citizens from overseas.
As of early April, the ministry has coordinated with other departments to send more than 500,000 health packages with face masks to Chinese students in foreign countries, Geng added.
"These measures have effectively eased the anxiety of Chinese citizens overseas," the spokesman said, adding that the ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions will continue their coordination efforts and provide more help to finally win the battle against the virus.
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