The first batch of 104 Chinese workers returned to the motherland yesterday after China evacuated more than 500 of its citizens from Yemen due to an increasingly dangerous situation in the region.
A total of 449 Chinese nationals left the Middle Eastern country on Monday evening in Chinese naval ships and headed for Djibouti, where another 122 citizens had already arrived the night before, according to the Associated Press, citing the Foreign Ministry. In total, 571 Chinese nationals were withdrawn from Yemen.
The first 104 of them arrived at the Beijing Capital Airport at around 8:00 p.m. yesterday, greeted by crowds of loved ones who welcomed them with flowers and banners.
No Chinese citizens have been reported as getting killed or injured in the fighting in Yemen.
Tian Qi, the Chinese ambassador to Yemen, told Xinhua on Monday that the operation was “a significant practice of major power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.”
Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, likewise told the New York Times that the move reveals more about China’s increasing geopolitical power.
“It has become very common for Chinese to demand that Chinese nationals be protected abroad more forcefully by the government. Thus, in the Yemen case, two frigates can easily be dispatched to ‘show the flag,’ but without incurring major risks or somehow pushing the operational envelope.”
In 2011, China dispatched warships and military aircraft to help evacuate around 35,000 Chinese citizens out of Libya.
[Images via NetEase]