§ Mr. Kirkhope
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect British nationals in China in the light of recent events; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Eggar
Our paramount concern at the present time is the safety and well-being of British nationals. Everything that can be done is being done and these efforts will continue until we know that all British nationals who wish to leave China have done so. Her Majesty's embassy in Peking and Consulate-General in Shanghai are, however, working under extremely difficult conditions. The embassy has assisted in arrangements for the evacuation by commercial means of several hundred students, businessmen and others with whom they have been in contact. It is important to emphasise that all airports are open and international commercial flights are operating normally.
We understand the deep anxiety of relatives of Britons in China. Firm information may not always be available or indeed possible to obtain. We are in touch with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) about group tours that may still be in China. Inquiries should be made to the consular emergency unit in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office—Telephone No.: 01–270 2700—which opened on 7 June 1989.