China urges Iraq to help free captives

China's leaders have urged officials in Iraq to spare no effort to free eight captured Chinese nationals and expressed deep concern over their fate.

    Captors think the eight Chinese men are working for US firms

    Their Iraqi captors threatened to kill the eight men who went missing last week, if China - a critic of the US invasion of Iraq - failed to explain why the workers were apparently building facilities for the Americans.

     

    "China's foreign ministry and embassy in Iraq should take fast and effective measures and spare no effort to free the hostages," the official Xinhua news agency quoted President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao as saying on Wednesday.

     

    The captors suggested the eight, who were all from the same poor, rural county in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, were working for a US contractor but were trying to leave Iraq after failing to find work, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

     

    Sympathy and support

     

    President Hu has urged Iraq to
    take measures to free the men

    "China is very concerned about this case. Chinese people have always been friendly to Iraqi people and have always shown them sympathy and support," spokesman Kong Quan said in a statement.

     

    The ministry also urged Chinese nationals not to travel to Iraq.

     

    "I feel uneasy and want nothing but his safe return," Gao Yun, the wife of hostage Lin Qiang, was quoted as saying by the China News Service.

     

    Chen Mei, 14, the daughter of hostage Chen Qin'ai, said her father went to Iraq to earn money to support the family, particularly to help her and her two brothers go to school.

     

    Thousands of Asians, including Chinese, are employed by private contractors working to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure and for the US military.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.