China sends navy ship to protect Libya evacuees

BEIJING — China on Friday dispatched a navy ship to protect its citizens who are being evacuated from conflict-ridden Libya.
The defense ministry said the missile frigate Xuzhou has broken off from anti-piracy patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden and will protect ships carrying Chinese citizens from Libya to safety across the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship's mission marks the first time China has sent a naval ship to take part in the evacuation of civilians in a humanitarian crisis, underscoring the navy's growing ability to operate far from home ports and the increasing degrees to which the government is seeking to protect its citizens abroad.
The defense ministry reported the mission on its website Friday, a day after the order was issued.
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