Remarks by Lai Bo,Charge d'Affaires of Chinese Embassy in Lesotho at Launch of Joint Meeting on Security Issues
March 29,2012,Chinese Embassy in Lesotho
From Chinese Embassy in Lesotho
Let me pay respect to His Majesty the King and the R.T. Hon. Prime Minister,
First of all, on behalf of HE Ambassador Hu Dingxian, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate on the launch of this multi-party security mechanism which seems long overdue. I wish to thank our Basotho colleagues from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Safety and Lesotho Mounted Police Service for their efforts to make this happen. My fellow folks from Chinese companies and local Chinese community are also welcome to the meeting.
Let us first look at the general security situation worldwide for the overseas Chinese nationals and companies. In 2010, the number of Chinese nationals going abroad surpassed 30 million. 16,000 Chinese companies are seeking overseas development in other countries. With unprecedented closer links and interactions between China and the rest of the world, security threats for the Chinese nationals are increasing and becoming much more varied and complex than ever before. That is why you have noticed or heard about those incidents of kidnapping Chinese technical staff and workers.
In accordance with the principle of "putting the people first and conducting diplomacy for the people", the Chinese government is paying more and more attention to the consular protection of the Chinese citizens going abroad. Along this line, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been working closely with other departments in China to fulfill the important mission of safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of the Chinese nationals outside of China. Chinese embassies and consulates-general are also playing a big role in this regard. In 2010, the website of China Consular Service was launched, the first of its kind in China to provide one-stop security information and consular services for overseas Chinese nationals and agencies. It uploaded country profile, consular news, security alert, emergency call and other columns. However, the best example in consular protection practice can be found in the successful evacuation of about 50,000 Chinese nationals from Egypt, Libya, Japan and other countries last year when security situation in these countries became much too fragile for them to stay.
Basically, there are two categories of threat. One is traditional threat like deterioration of public order, armed conflict or war which are caused by domestic problems such as instability or dysfunction of government. The other is non-traditional threat, like piracy, terrorist attack, pandemic disease and natural disaster. Most incidents belong to the first category of traditional threats. Take Lesotho for example. The estimated figure of the local Chinese nationals is about 5,000 people, including those from a dozen Chinese companies. Like their Basotho sisters and brothers, they are often faced with such real threats as robberies and killings.
The Chinese Embassy in Lesotho has been attaching great importance to the protection of the just, lawful rights and interests of locally based Chinese nationals and companies. At the same time, the Embassy has always been encouraging the Chinese nationals and companies to follow strictly the laws and regulations of this country, share cultural traditions and development experiences with the Basotho people, and shoulder more social responsibility in order to contribute to China-Lesotho friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation and the sustainable social economic development of Lesotho.
Over the years, the Embassy has enjoyed very good working relations with various ministries of Lesotho government, particularly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Ministry of Home Affairs and Safety and Lesotho Mounted Police Service. To launch this mechanism, we have already held two preparatory meetings in recent months and have come to some important common understanding as how and where we can work together to ensure the security of life and property for the Chinese nationals in Lesotho, whether they are groups who are here for a brief visit, or those who are doing business here for longer period of stay; whether they are company staff or individual businessmen. Some presented advice or tips on security precautions. Others were more concerned with increasing the capability of Lesotho law enforcement agencies by providing police training opportunities or communications or monitoring equipments. With our productive discussions, we now have a much better or clearer picture as to what the mechanism is all about and how we are moving forward.
Of course, like other countries, particularly developing ones, Lesotho can by no means transcend or sidestep her present level of development any time soon, with restraints from within and without. Therefore, I think that what the law enforcement agencies can do is to try their best to minimize the loss of life and property of the Basotho people as well as those from abroad. It is never too much or too late to stress the significance of putting in place this mechanism, either in terms of improving business and investment environment of Lesotho, or in terms of ensuring her healthy and smooth economic, cultural exchanges and cooperation with other countries. It is especially so when this country has entered a season of general election. Recently, the Embassy has expressed its concerns to the Lesotho government regarding recent spate of criminal cases directed against Chinese nationals and companies. We hope that the Lesotho side will take efficient and effective action against criminal activities and make breakthroughs in relevant investigations and prosecutions so that people will be able to work and live peacefully in the mountain kingdom.
In sum, I believe that this mechanism will serve as a useful platform for us to share security situation and information, express security concerns and work out effective strategies in formulating preventive security measures and combating criminal activities in this country. I hope all those present here will openly and sincerely voice your security concerns and offer your advice and suggestions about the modality of the mechanism and possible solutions to improve security situation so that together we can focus on the social economic development of Lesotho while enhancing our mutual understanding and cooperative relations.
Thank you for your attention.