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Special> Earthquake in Haiti> Backgrounder
UPDATED: January 22, 2010
China's Peace Keeping Force in Haiti

In May 2004, China sent a peace keeping police to Haiti for the United Nations (UN) mission. This was the first time China sent a peace keeping police force to Latin America, China Police Daily reported on January 16.

On October 17, 2004, China dispatched a group of 95 peace keeping police officers to Haiti. It took the police over 20 hours in a plane chartered by UN from Beijing to Haiti's International Airport Port Au Prince. The group met with 30 others who had arrived in Haiti on September 18.

The peace keeping force, composed of 125 police officers, became the first batch of Chinese police deployed to accomplish a six-month-long mission required by the UN. Their tasks included: helping the local police deal with the sudden events, safeguarding the security during big occasions, and to train local police for anti-riot missions.

The dispatch opened a new chapter for China's peace keeping mission in the world as Haiti was not yet establishing diplomatic relations with China.

In the beginning of February 2004, a coup d'état devastated the situation in Haiti. On the morning of February 29, the first elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide resigned and fled the country. The multi-national force came into the country to re-establish its stability.

On April 30, the UN Security Council passed No. 1542 Resolution to set up an international force for the peacekeeping mission in Haiti. According to the resolution, the UN would deploy a peace keeping force composed of 6,700 soldiers and 1,622 police in the country.

The UN also invited China to send its peacekeeping anti-riot police to Haiti. In May, the central Party committee and the State Council of China decided to dispatch peacekeeping anti-riot police to Haiti. Zhou Yongkang, who served as the Minister of Public Security at that time, said: "We should select the most talented (for the peacekeeping mission). That's the glory of China, so we cannot afford any mistakes."

In June, the ministry selected some staff to attend the first round of the training for the peace keeping mission. After three months of training, 125 police officers including 13 policewomen won approval from the UN to join in the peace keeping mission.

The selected peace keeping force had an average age of 28. Their qualifications included: a solid educational background, more than five years' working experience, good physical and psychological conditions, two years' driving experience and basic foreign language skills. The leaders and the liaison officers of the peace keeping force also improved their English and French during the training.

The mission in Haiti, where conflicts and riots broke out frequently, was difficult for the young, inexperienced Chinese police. But training and measures were adopted to make the police accustomed to local environment.

They would visit charity institutions and schools to communicate with the locals. On November 30, 2004, the peace keeping police went to a Christian school and a charity home to visit the children and the ageing people. They brought gifts to them. The locals sung and danced to welcome the Chinese and said: "thanks for Chinese police, you are our true friends!"

In the six-month-long mission, the Chinese police became qualified in guarding the security in Haiti. They are loyal, diligent, united and devoted.

Their jobs were highly commended by Kofi A Annan, the former Secretary-General of UN, who visited their training center in October, 2004.

(China.org.cn January 19, 2010)

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