China's embassy in Algeria has warned
Chinese companies and workers to be on guard for attacks after an
Islamist Web site called for retaliation for Beijing's response to
unrest in its predominantly Muslim western province.
A notice posted late Tuesday on the embassy's Web site follows a
torrent of ethnic clashes this month that left at least 184 dead in
Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi. Riots by Muslim Uighurs and
subsequent fighting between Uighurs and members of the Han Chinese
majority were the worst ethnic violence China has seen in decades.
"In light of the (riots), the Chinese Embassy in Algeria
reminds Chinese-funded companies and personnel to enhance security
awareness and strengthen security measures," the notice said.
In recent days, postings on an Islamist Web site in the Arab
world suggested killing Han Chinese in the Middle East, noting
there are large communities of ethnic Chinese laborers working in
Algeria and Saudi Arabia.
Urumqi was calm Wednesday, although security was tight,
especially near Uighur areas after Monday's fatal shooting of two
Uighurs by police. The city government says the two - and third
man, who was wounded - attacked police trying to break up a fight.
China has been worried that the violence may overshadow its good
relations with Muslim countries. Turkey has already called the
unrest "a kind of genocide." The Turkic-speaking Uighurs share
cultural and ethnic bonds with Turks.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang appealed for
understanding of China's handling of the unrest and rejected
assertions it would hurt Beijing's ties with Muslim countries.
"If they have a clear idea about the true nature of the
incident, they would understand China's policies concerning
religion and religious issues and understand the measures we have
taken," he told a regular news conference.
An editorial in the China Daily, the official English-language
newspaper, said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "would
be well advised to take back his remarks," calling them a
"groundless and irresponsible accusation."
Qin said the July 5 riots "were aimed at sabotaging China and
sabotaging ethnic unity. It was orchestrated by the three forces
(terrorism, religious extremism and separatism) in and outside of
The July 5 riots began when Uighurs who were protesting last
month's deaths of fellow factory workers in a brawl in southern
China clashed with police. Crowds scattered throughout the city,
attacking ethnic Han Chinese and burning cars.
Uighurs, who number 9 million in Xinjiang, have complained about
an influx of Han Chinese and government restrictions on their
Muslim religion. They accuse the Han of discrimination and the
Communist Party of trying to erase their language and culture.
Han Chinese, many of whom were encouraged to emigrate to
Xinjiang by the government, believe the Uighurs should be grateful
for the region's rapid economic development, which has brought
schools, airports and oil wells to the sprawling, rugged region the
size of Texas.
China blames Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent exiled Uighur activist,
for inciting the unrest. It has not provided evidence to back its
claim, and Kadeer, who lives in Washington, D.C., has denied the
charges. She blames government policies for exacerbating
long-standing tensions between the dominant Han Chinese and the
minority Muslim Uighur community.