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Chinese stay home amid alert in Brussels

Updated: 2015-11-23 08:22
By Fu Jing in Brussels (China Daily)

Chinese stay home amid alert in Brussels

Belgian soldiers patrol Brussels' Grand Place on November 22, 2015, after security was tightened in Belgium following the fatal attacks in Paris. Belgium widened its search on Sunday for armed Islamist extremists whose presence has put Brussels on maximum alert, with officials saying more than one militant was at large in the city. [Photo/Agencies]

As the Belgian capital remained on alert over the weekend for a Paris-style attack, most of the people in the country's Chinese community-just like Belgians-chose to stay home.

From the early morning on Saturday, the organizers of public events have been busy sending "postponing or canceling" messages or seeking alternatives.

Zhang Wenhai, a young Chinese artist in Brussels, was going to kick-start a three-week painting exhibition along with another seven artists from Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, who had all studied in Belgium in different years.

The works of Taiwan painter and poet Xi Murong, born in 1943, is part of the showcased pieces in the China Cultural Center in Brussels.

"We have long prepared for this highly-expected exhibition, which showcases the works of Chinese artists of different generations in Brussels," said Zhang in an interview with China Daily on Saturday. "But the highest security alert has totally changed our plan. We are busy telling those invited not to come by following the advice of police."

Late on Friday, the Belgian government raised the security threat to the highest level in Brussels, shutting down the city's transportation services. The people were told not to go to crowded places such as restaurants and shopping malls.

The BBC reported that central Brussels was almost empty on Saturday night amid the fear of another Paris-style attack. It reported that the manhunt continued for the fugitive Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted in connection with last week's attacks and is reportedly in or near Brussels.

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