Nearly two hundred Vietnamese refugees have arrived in France from Malaysia -- the first of 5,000 the French government has promised to accept.
Nearly two hundred Vietnamese refugees have arrived in France from Malaysia -- the first of 5,000 the French government has promised to accept. So far the French have agreed to take more refugees than any other Western country.
SYNOPSIS: Government officials awaited the refugees on Saturday (7 July) at Roissy airport. Most of them were boat people who had taken refuge on the island of Pilau Bidong.
The group of 171 included 39 children and four babies. They were taken to transit camps near Paris to be provide with free accommodation and a daily allowance for six months while they look for jobs. The refugees were the first to arrive in France during the present exodus, but in all more than 50,000 Indochinese have settled there since the end of the war in Vietnam four years ago.
But there's been criticism of the government from left-wing groups, which claim the France population is willing to take far more refugees. Francois Mitterand, the Socialist leader, has maintained that Socialist-run local councils would be prepared to take at least 10,000. At the same time, the government is planning to tighten up drastically on other immigrants.