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Chinese chartered planes bring home nationals from Kyrgyzstan

10:02, June 16, 2010   Source: Xinhua

A total of 380 Chinese nationals had returned home aboard Chinese chartered flights as of Tuesday night from southern Kyrgyzstan where ethnic clashes have left some 170 people dead.

Chinese nationals prepare to board the chartered flight at an airport in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, June 15, 2010. Until now, a total of 380 Chinese nationals have returned home by Chinese chartered flights from the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, where ethnic clashes have left some 170 people dead. (Xinhua/Sadat)

The Chinese government has sent four chartered planes to bring home nationals including business people and students in Kyrgyzstan. Three chartered planes dispatched on Monday and Tuesday have returned and the fourth one left at 9:37 p.m. Tuesday an airport in Urumqi, capital of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, for Osh of Kyrgyzstan to fly home more Chinese nationals.

More than 600 Chinese nationals living around Osh have been sent to the city's airport with help from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan. They were preparing to return to China by follow-up chartered planes, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

About 90 Chinese nationals were still in Jalalabad and Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan. The Chinese embassy was working to transport them to safe areas, according to the Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry sent two working teams to Osh and Urumqi to help with the evacuation of Chinese nationals. China Southern Airlines, which is entrusted to operate the flights, selected some of its best pilots and crew members for the evacuation mission.

"We have carefully prepared for the navigation and landing of the chartered planes," said Hou Junxue, captain of the first plane who has a flight experience of more than 30 years. The chartered planes also carried food, medicine, oxygen and medical equipment.

The first two chartered planes returned to Urumqi at about 4:25 a.m. (Beijing time) and 5:18 a.m. (Beijing time) respectively on Tuesday, bringing home 195 nationals, mostly women and children.

The third chartered plane landed at Urumqi airport at 10:50 p.m (Beijing time)Tuesday, carrying another 185 Chinese nationals.

"I did not expect that the government would send chartered planes to take us back home," Song Wuyi, a businessman selling stationery in Osh, told Xinhua upon arrival. "We feel at ease back in the motherland."

Chinese nationals prepare to board the chartered flight at an airport in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, June 15, 2010. Until now, a total of 380 Chinese nationals have returned home by Chinese chartered flights from the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, where ethnic clashes have left some 170 people dead. (Xinhua/Sadat)

"Many people shed happy tears when they see the plane arriving in Osh," said Song, whose store was forced to close after the unrest.

"Thank the government for taking us back and thank all of you," said Ahmet, a Uygur man in his forties. "This is the first time I thank our motherland......and I will remember this experience forever."

"Many of my Kyrgyz clients in Osh admire me being a Chinese," said Kamijiang, who does fodder business in Kyrgyzstan.   (Extracted By Sean)