An Air China charter flight carrying 110 teenage Chinese earthquake victims left Beijing on Thursday for Russia, where they were promised a 21-day recuperative vacation.
They were among 1,570 primary and middle school students invited by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to experience the country. The trip was expected to help heal their earthquake trauma.
Zhu Mei, an Air China spokeswoman, said the flight was destined for Vladivostok in Russia's Far East.
The company would have five further such charters to pick up students at airports in the western Chinese cities of Xi'an and Lanzhou to several designated Russian cities for vacation.
Minister Counselor Igor V. Morgulov from the Russian Embassy in China said here on Thursday his country had designated 15 sanatoriums in 12 regions to host about 1,000 Chinese students this summer and 570 more next year. Many of the resorts are located in coastal regions.
"We know the Chinese students are from inland Chinese regions. Most had never been to the beach. They will have their first sea experience in Russia," he said.
He added the Russia side had prepared psychological therapy, soothing sightseeing trips and amusement programs for the students aged between seven and 16.
(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2008)