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Engineers unruffled by Chinese backlash

BRITISH ENGINEERS working in China said it was largely business as usual yesterday, despite widespread protests at the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Last Sunday's attack prompted angry government-sponsored demonstrations in several Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing, Guangzhou and Xiamen. There were more peaceful protests outside the US and British consulates in Hong Kong.

But on construction sites like the Jiang Yin Bridge (see page 20) and the Shanxi Yellow River diversion project, British personnel carried on working, although they have been advised to keep a low profile and stay away from UK Government buildings for the time being.

'We are able to take people to and fro to Shanghai airport as normal,' declared David Clime, project manager for Cleveland Bridge at Jiangyin city, about one hours drive from Shanghai on the Yangtse river. 'There has been no hostility at all'.

In north western Shanxi province, Binnie Black & Veatch engineer Ted Andean said he and Mott MacDonald colleagues had experienced no local problems after the bombing although they had been asked why NATO did it by some residents.

The message from Hong Kong is much the same.

Hyder Consulting chairman Edmund Leung Kwong-ho said Chinese staff were still visiting the mainland this week without any problems. However, he added: 'If a Western engineer is travelling I would ask him to be a bit more careful.'

He said it was too early to discuss the long term effect on future opportunities.

A Scott Wilson spokesman told NCE: 'The British Government has told tourists not to go to the mainland, but we've got people going up there all the time.

'It's nothing to worry about unduly at the moment, but if things get a bit out of hand if might be different.'

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