The International Committee of the Red Cross said the abducted Chinese workers travelled on board one of its aircraft from South Kordofan, Sudan, to Nairobi, Kenya, where they were handed over to Chinese embassy officials.
“The ICRC assisted in this operation on humanitarian grounds, after all the parties concerned accepted its offer to serve as a neutral intermediary,” Christoph Luedi, the group’s head of delegation in Nairobi said in a statement. The Red Cross said it played no part in the negotiations that led to the release.
China expressed gratitude to Sudan, South Sudan and the Red Cross for their efforts, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement cited by Xinhua News Agency. It also said the workers were in sound physical condition and would rest in Nairobi before returning home.
An earlier report in the Washington Post looked at popular reaction to the kidnapping and to the Chinese government’s actions:
When China evacuated some 30,000 of its citizens from Libya early last year, official media fell into patriotic rapture.
[…] A year later, patriotic pride has turned to anger amid growing frustration over the fate of 29 Chinese nationals abducted by rebels in Sudan on Saturday. The Chinese, employees of a huge state-controlled engineering and construction company, Sinohydro, are being held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a ragtag militant outfit.
The drama in Sudan’s remote, oil-rich South Kordofan region — the latest in a string of attacks on Chinese working overseas — poses a delicate problem for the ruling Communist Party: how to manage the growing nationalism that it has done so much to promote. Party propaganda, pride at China’s recent achievements and a deep sense of grievance over China’s mistreatment at the hands of foreigners in the past have combined to stir demands for robust action.
“Nationalism is a double-edged sword,” said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Peking University. Instead of accepting that China’s expanding economic presence abroad inevitably increases the risk of trouble, many people react with “exaggerated emotion” and increasingly “think that China must do something muscular” in response to a crisis. “This is the frustration of a rising power,” he added.