BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday his ministry handled more than 70,000 cases of consular protection last year, amid enhanced efforts to ensure rights and interests of Chinese nationals overseas.
A total of 130 million overseas trips were made by Chinese mainlanders in 2017. The consular helpline 12308, operated by the foreign ministry, handled 170,000 calls last year, 100,000 more than 2016, Wang said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
"Prevention is the best protection. The foreign ministry issued more than 1,000 travel advisories last year, which significantly reduced the citizens' risk exposure even before they travel abroad," Wang said.
"We adopted a people-centered approach and built a system to ensure their safety, which consists of six pillars: legal provision, institution building, risk assessment, early warning, awareness raising and an emergency response," Wang said.
He also announced that a draft law on consular protection and assistance will soon be published to solicit public opinions.
A smart phone app to complement the helpline and a website will be launched to make consular services more convenient, he said.