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Freed engineer tells of 6-month ordeal

[ 2009-02-17 11:22]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Chinese engineer kidnapped by the Taliban said he was willing to slash his own wrists before militants took his life and advised other captives not to anger the militants to survive.

"I didn't have a shower or change any clothes and had lived on corn porridge," said Long Xiaowei, the 28-year-old engineer held captive in Pakistan's Swat Valley for nearly six months. Long was released on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Chinese ambassador and other diplomats celebrated Long's return with a well-prepared Chinese dinner - the first time Long tasted meat and noodles in more than 160 days.

The engineer appeared in good condition yesterday and expects to go back to China after a medical checkup, the Foreign Ministry said, according to Xinhua News Agency.

In his days of fear and despair, Long kept a razor under his sleeve and was ready to commit suicide if the Taliban tried to kill him.

Dispatched by the ZTE Corporation for a project in Pakistan, Long, a Xi'an native, and his colleague, engineer Zhang Guo, were kidnapped in August in the Dir region of northwest Pakistan.

They both escaped in mid-October.

Long injured his ankle and was recaptured, while Zhang got away.

The Taliban punished him by beating him harshly on the back. They enclosed him in a 15 sq m room with a tunnel connecting to the toilet, so Long was not able to go outside.

Hours before his release, Long was almost killed by a natural disaster. At dawn on Saturday, heavy rain and snow collapsed the tunnel and Long was thought dead by his guards. But when the militants opened the door, Long was found standing in front of them, uninjured.

Long said he avoided any physical torture because of his negotiation skills, "always smiling" at the Taliban, instead of uttering words to anger them.

The Chinese embassy thanked the government of Pakistan for its efforts to secure the release.

"The embassy, along with Mr. Long, wishes to express sincere thanks to the efforts by relative departments of Pakistan for his safe release," a statement said.

The release came before a visit to China by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, which is scheduled from February 20-23 in Hubei province and Shanghai.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Freed engineer tells of 6-month ordeal

About the broadcaster:

Freed engineer tells of 6-month ordeal

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.