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Prime Minister Gordon Brown Offers Condolences to Earthquake Victims at the Chinese Embassy

At 13:25 pm, 20 May 2008 Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to the Chinese embassy at Portland Place to pay condolences to the victims of the earthquake in Wenchuan.

Prime Minister Brown shook hands with Ambassador Fu Ying, expressing his shock and sadness at the severe disaster and asking Fu to convey the condolences of the British government and people to the Chinese people who have suffered from the disaster and their respect to the Chinese leaders. Britain is willing to provide assistance in whatever way it can to the Chinese government and people.

He then paid silent tribute in the solemn condolence hall accompanied by Ambassador Fu Ying. He looked carefully at the exhibition of pictures of relief work by the Chinese people and soldiers and nodded while listening carefully to every moving story behind the pictures. He said that the Chinese leaders being to the forefront to lead the relief work within a short time showed their care for the people. The many moving stories in the disaster and relief efforts show the perseverance of the Chinese people, to which the British people would like to pay their tribute.

When seeing the pictures of temporary shelters and hospitals in the disaster areas, Brown said immediately that the British government would send the tents it had pledged to the areas as soon as possible.

Brown wrote in the condolence book: On behalf of the British people my sincere condolence to the Chinese people who have suffered.

Brown was interviewed by the Chinese and British media. He said: "The world is shocked by the severity of the quake and heavy causalities. At this time of grief, I would like to express my condolence to the Chinese people. The British people could feel the pains and pray for the relief efforts now going on. The Chinese authorities and all those involved in the rescue operations especially the response of Premier Wen has been "nothing short of magnificent". The UK will try its utmost to provide help to the Chinese people. At their request, the UK will send shelters for 30,000 people and communications equipment, at the request of the Chinese government, as part of a $4 million donation. Our hearts are with the Chinese people. My condolences once again and the UK will continue to do everything in our power to help the Chinese people at this time of grief and suffering. Our thoughts go to all people in China, our condolences to those families who have lost loved ones, and our support for all those who are suffering."