The Chinese Embassy in Dili says it has awarded scholarships to 50 students at the National University of Timor-Leste.

A written announcement issued by the embassy quotes Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste Xiao Jianguo as saying that the new sort of scholarship is meant to encourage outstanding students from poor communities to do better at school and to help them complete their studies at university.

Mr Xiao said the scholarships might teach Timorese students about China and turn them into facilitators of Sino-Timorese friendship.

Since 2006 China has given over 200 Timorese students other sorts of scholarships which enable them to study in China, the Chinese Embassy announcement says.