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Scores of Chinese travelers stranded

[ 2010-04-19 14:56]     字号 [] [] []  
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Hundreds of Chinese travelers were stranded across major European cities over the weekend as the volcanic ash cloud cut off air traffic between China and large parts of Europe. At least 500 travelers were stranded in Paris, as the disruption shut down the Charles de Gaulle airport, according to the Chinese embassy there. Most other European airports, including big ones like London's Heathrow and Frankfurt, were also closed.

Jin Chunlei, press counselor of the Chinese embassy in France, said the embassy had received dozens of calls over the weekend from Chinese individual and group tourists seeking assistance. The tourists faced difficulties like expiring visas, need for medication, and lack of hotel accommodation, Jin said, adding that all their needs were taken care of by Saturday afternoon.

In Sweden, Chinese Counselor Yang Shuaiqi said more than 60 Chinese were stranded by Sunday. They were now staying in local hotels, waiting for airlines to fly them back to Beijing, he said. "Though their mood is currently stable, (I) worry if there'll be problems if the wait is prolonged. But we can only wait now," Yang said, adding the the Stockholm-Arlanda airport cancelled its first flight to China as early as Thursday.

He said the local immigration office had agreed to extend the Chinese tourists' visas for free. In Amsterdam, nearly 100 Chinese were stranded at the airport by Sunday morning (local time). Some others had left for hotels, the embassy said.

In Germany, the government decided to ease visa restrictions for stranded travelers on Saturday. About 100 Chinese travelers were allowed into the country from Frankfurt airport.

These travelers, mostly bound for South American cities, are now staying in hotels near the airport with the full cost of their accommodation being paid for by the airlines, said an official from the Chinese Consulate in Frankfurt.

In Austria, 51 Chinese citizens, including one child, had received a visa to enter the country on Saturday. Thirty travelers among them took a train to their destinations, according to an embassy official in Vienna.

The stranded Chinese passengers may have to stay in Europe longer as the air travel bans extend into the week.

China's major airlines also canceled dozens of Europe-bound flights over the weekend. Air China said it canceled 13 flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Paris, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Stockholm, Moscow, Madrid, Milan, and Rome.

China Southern Airlines said it canceled lights from Beijing to Amsterdam. Hainan Airlines canceled all flights to European destinations on Sunday. The airline had canceled flights from Beijing to Budapest and Brussels over the weekend.


1. How many Chinese travelers are stranded in Europe?

2. Why are they stranded?

3. How long will they have to stay in Europe?


1. Hundreds of Chinese travelers were stranded across major European cities over the weekend.

2. Iceland volcanic ash cloud cut off air traffic between China and large parts of Europe.

3. Unclear, as air travel bans have extended into the week.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Scores of Chinese travelers stranded

About the broadcaster:

Scores of Chinese travelers stranded

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.