Chinese nationals' evacuation in Ukraine complete! All safe: embassy
Over 6,000 Chinese nationals moved to safe regions in Ukraine
Published: Mar 09, 2022 09:03 PM Updated: Mar 09, 2022 11:54 PM

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

The last batch of 115 Chinese students who had been stranded in Sumy under siege safely arrived in western Ukraine's Lviv by train on Wednesday and were warmly received by the Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine, drawing a perfect conclusion to one of China's largest evacuation operations in history. It marked the successful completion of the mission as all 6,000 Chinese nationals in the country were moved to safe regions, the Global Times learned from the Chinese embassy in Ukraine.

A red banner hanging at the Lviv train station reads "Kids, Motherland takes you home."  

"These days in the face of the worsening security situation, you hid in basements, ate poorly, slept little, and suffered in fear. Today, I have come to pick you up and take you home on behalf of my country and the Chinese people! I want to tell you that the danger is over, and you are safe now. You will soon be back in the arms of your motherland," Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Fan Xianrong said as he arrived at the Lviv train station on Wednesday.

Over the past few days, the hearts of all Chinese people were tied to the 6,000 Chinese nationals in Ukraine, and the embassy tried all possible means to pull our students, fellow citizens out of danger, Fan said. It has been a difficult task, he said, amid the increasingly complex security situation in Ukraine under gunfire and bombardment.

"Today, we can finally announce that our evacuation mission of all Chinese nationals in Ukraine was completed successfully!" Fan noted, adding that such a success is witnessed increasingly more for China. "Living in today's China, we are happy, and we have more and more pride and confidence," Fan said. 

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

Leave no one behind

About 50 foreign students from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and other countries were also evacuated with China's convoy from Sumy on Tuesday with the last group of 115 Chinese students, the embassy noted. 

"There were over 10,000 people evacuating from Sumy, including citizens from China, India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Singapore. Three batches of evacuations were arranged, and China's convoy was able to leave in the first batch under the coordination of the embassy with local authorities," an embassy staffer familiar with the matter told the Global Times.

China evacuated the first batch of its citizens from Ukraine on February 28, including over 400 Chinese students from Odessa and 200 from Kiev, four days after militaries from Russia and Ukraine engaged in battle. 

Among the first batch of Chinese students evacuated from Ukraine, a student surnamed Liu shared heartwarming details with the Global Times about his experience of getting help from the Chinese embassy and overseas Chinese during this "unforgettable trip."

"We became the first batch of Chinese students leaving Kiev, and we arrived at the first transition place, Moldova, on March 1 around 1 am, where we got free food, drinking water and other daily necessities as local volunteers welcomed us warmly," he told the Global Times from a quarantine hotel in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang, where the first batch of Chinese students evacuated from Ukraine arrived. 

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

Photo: Courtesy of Chinese embassy in Ukraine

After we rested in Moldova for five hours, we left for Romania where the commerce association of Zhejiang prepared free water and food for us, arranging the special vehicle for us to Bucharest where the Zhejiang Qingtian Association arranged free accommodations for us, Liu noted. 

"That was the moment we deeply felt the love of our motherland and compatriots," he said, noting that a chartered plane brought him home on Friday.

China evacuated 1,700 Chinese nationals at most in one day in Ukraine last week amid the deteriorating tensions on 32 buses. They were escorted by embassy staff and local police, who played a big role in ensuring the evacuees' safety and quick passage on the roads heavily congested with people fleeing the danger zones.

In the immediate wake of the dramatic developments on the ground, we acted promptly to help Chinese nationals in Ukraine to take shelter and provided timely assistance to those in need, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a virtual press conference on Monday on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing.

"We seized the window of opportunity to organize an emergency evacuation of Chinese nationals. My colleagues at the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine and the Consulate General in Odessa took great personal risk to arrange the safe passage of Chinese nationals. Chinese embassies in countries next to Ukraine are working around the clock and leaving no stone unturned to provide shelter for and facilitate the departure of our compatriots," Wang said.

Relevant government departments and various Chinese localities have also been coordinating closely to send multiple chartered flights expeditiously to bring our compatriots home from various European cities, the Chinese foreign minister said. 

Along with the evacuation efforts, China has also expressed willingness to continue to play a constructive role in promoting Russia-Ukraine talks to ease tensions.

China has also called for maximum restraint to prevent a massive humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and proposed a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in the country. 

In fulfilling China's promise, the Red Cross Society of China, upon request, will provide the Ukrainian Red Cross five million yuan ($791,365) in humanitarian aid, including food and daily necessities. The first batch of aid supplies left Beijing on Wednesday, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Western hype 'nonsense'

Some Western media outlets turned a blind eye to China's efforts in evacuating its citizens, or in other words, as some experts said, reported the situation with bias, playing the role of instigating the conflict and divergence rather than helping ease the situation. 

The Guardian in a story on Tuesday cited some Chinese students who said the diplomatic mission helping the Chinese students "came too late," claiming that the embassy did not tell them "the war was going to break out when other countries advised their citizens to leave days before." 

It's typical Western media which instigated the conflict and created divisions on the Ukraine crisis, as they always seek to depict Russia and China as disruptors in this crisis, undermining China's image in order to cater to the US strategy of turning this crisis into an opportunity to bring NATO and EU closer to it, Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times in a recent interview.

It is nonsense for some Western media to hype the evacuation as "coming too late," experts noted, as there was no social disorder or chaos among the masses before the military conflict broke out. As it was such a large evacuation operation, it is irresponsible to issue an evacuation order based on unfounded information and cause panic, observers said. 

What's more, some Chinese nationals in Ukraine set up their homes and families in the country, and they were unwilling to leave, especially those in the western regions where there is currently no military engagement. 

The Ukrainian deputy prime minister said that Russian armed forces have agreed to stop firing in areas of humanitarian corridors from 9am to 9pm local time (7am-7pm GMT) on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The world is not yet a tranquil place. As an online comment reads, we don't live in a peaceful world, but we are lucky to have a motherland that seeks and enjoys peace, Wang Yi, the Chinese top diplomat said on Monday. 

"With everything we do, we will continue to show every one of our compatriots overseas that we stand with you at all times, wherever you may be, and your motherland will always have your back," Wang said.