Yemenis in Guangzhou to get consular office

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am

Yemen plans to open a consular office in Guangzhou to serve the city's growing community of Yemeni traders.

Ahmed al-Yafie, Yemen's honorary commercial representative in Guangzhou and newly elected head of the Yemeni community, estimates that there are at least 5,000 Yemenis in the city including traders who make frequent visits and stay for up to two months at a time.

'We have a need for a consulate to renew our passports, to advise us if someone gets into trouble,' Mr Yafie said.

He added that owing to cultural differences or ignorance, the traders could get into a difficult situation without realising it.

'People lose their passports. They die here. We don't know what to do, where to bury them,' he said. 'It's not easy to find advice here - someone who can speak English or Arabic - so we are hoping that the consulate will make our stay here easier.'

The plight of three Yemeni traders held hostage by a Chinese company over a payment dispute on Monday and Tuesday highlighted the problems faced by Yemenis.

A consular officer at Yemen's embassy in Beijing who will be assigned to head the Guangzhou mission said it 'won't be a consulate but an office of the embassy in Beijing'.

There is already some Yemeni investment in garment and bag manufacturing in Guangdong, and interests in dairy products and hot spring resorts in Conghua, 75km outside of Guangzhou.