Chinese Premier Li Qiang has signed an order of the State Council unveiling a regulation on consular protection and assistance in China, which will come into effect on September 1, making the relevant work more law-based, institutionalized and standardized, according to an official statement on Friday.
When Chinese citizens' legitimate rights and interests are infringed upon or they are in need of help, Chinese diplomatic agencies stationed overseas will safeguard their legitimate rights and interests and provide assistance on behalf of the state. It is an important measure to safeguard people's safety, and has played an important role in building China's overseas security protection system.
With Chinese people's demand for sound overseas public services growing as China's international exchanges expand, it is crucial to strengthen consular protection and assistance. The international security environment is undergoing complex and profound changes, with various traditional and non-traditional security issues increasing as well, according to the statement.
The 27 items in the regulation aim to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens overseas, and standardize and strengthen consular protection and assistance. It clarifies the duties and obligations of all parties in consular protection and assistance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of China, diplomatic missions overseas, relevant departments of the State Council, local governments, and domestic units with employees dispatched overseas are respectively responsible for the work including coordination, protection and assistance, security publicity, response, communication and cooperation.
It also clarifies how consular protection and assistance is received and where it is performed. The MFA needs to set up hotlines and online platforms, and diplomatic missions overseas need to make the relevant information public, such as office addresses and contact information, to make it easier for Chinese citizens overseas to seek assistance.
It also regulates the circumstances and contents of the duties of consular protection and assistance. Chinese citizens who face violation of their legitimate rights and interests or have difficulties in ensuring basic living expenses will receive consular protection and assistance.
Also, the relevant Chinese agencies stationed overseas have the obligation to issue safety warnings and give the appropriate education. The MFA and diplomatic missions abroad must pay close attention to the security situation of relevant countries and regions, such as social security, natural disasters, accidents and disasters, and infectious diseases, and issue safety alerts as appropriate.
China has made great efforts to provide better consular services for Chinese nationals overseas in recent years and has always put people's safety first. China has organized about 20 operations to evacuate overseas Chinese citizens and has handled more than 500,000 cases of consular protection involving millions of Chinese nationals over the past 10 years, Wu Xi, director-general of the Department of Consular Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry, said during a press briefing in June 2023.