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China urges stability in Egypt

CHINA: China has called for a rapid return to stability for its “friend” Egypt, as it restricts media coverage of the nationwide revolt that has left President Hosni Mubarak clinging to power.

“China is paying close attention to developments in the situation in Egypt,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement issued late on Sunday.

“Egypt is a friend of China’s, and we hope social stability and order will return to Egypt as soon as possible.”

China’s ruling Communist Party is wary of disturbances to public order overseas that may influence demands for political reform and democracy at home, and it is restricting coverage of the protests online and in other media.

The six-day revolt against Mubarak’s three-decade autocratic rule has shaken Egypt, leaving at least 125 people dead.

The United States, a key ally of Egypt, has called on Mubarak to do more to defuse the crisis, but has stopped short of saying he should quit.

According to China’s state television, the government is preparing to send a charter plane to Cairo to start evacuating the more than 500 Chinese citizens stranded at the airport. Beijing has also issued a travel warning advising nationals to postpone all travel to Egypt and the national tourism administration has suspended all tours to the country.

According to the foreign ministry, apart from the Chinese tourists stranded at the airport, another 100 travellers were stranded at Cairo’s train station on Sunday.

Beijing, Monday, AFP

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