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June 30, 1979

Cable from the Foreign Ministry, 'More on the Term “Refugee”'

This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Fujian Province Telegram Received


From:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Precedence:  Urgent 

Device No. 227

Serial No.  7

Principal agency responsible: Foreign Affairs Bureau Office, Overseas Chinese Office

Already transmitted to:

More on the Term “Refugee”

To:  The Foreign Affairs Offices and Overseas Chinese Affairs Offices of Guangxi (autonomous region), Fujian and Yunnan Province:

On the issue of how to refer to expatriates who are refugees as distinguished from other refugees, the response is as follows:

“Refugee” is a broad term as it is used internationally and includes “expatriates who are refugees”.  Expatriates whom Vietnam forced out, from the perspective of our international struggle, may all be referred to as “refugees”.  Placing them in the general category of “refugees” does not affect their status as “expatriate refugees”. If some people ask questions or some concerns arise on this issue, this can be used to make a suitable explanation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

June 30, 1979

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issues a clarification on who can be considered a "refugee" in the context of the current confrontation with Vietnam.

Document Information


Fujian Provincial Archives, 222-12-287, 22. Translated by David Cowhig.


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