Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 13:46 UK

China issues alert in Algeria

Armed Chinese soldiers patrol in Urumqi on July 15, 2009
There are still many troops on the streets of Urumqi

China has urged its citizens in Algeria to take extra care, after reports that a militant group might take revenge for the recent deaths of Muslim Uighurs.

On Tuesday a UK-based security firm reported that an al-Qaeda-linked group had threatened to target Chinese workers in north Africa.

The Chinese foreign minister recently appealed for understanding within the Muslim world in the wake of the unrest.

Officials say 137 Han Chinese and 46 Uighurs died in the riots, in Urumqi.

Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, is currently under heavy police and military control.

Safety precautions

On Tuesday the London-based risk firm Stirling Assynt reported that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had threatened to target Chinese workers in north Africa.

In response to the report, the Chinese embassy in Algiers has urged all 50,000 Chinese who live and work in Algeria to be more aware of safety precautions.

It told residents to strengthen security measures "in consideration of the situation after the 5 July incident in Urumqi".

Main ethnic division: 45% Uighur, 40% Han Chinese
26 June: Mass factory brawl after dispute between Han Chinese and Uighurs in Guangdong, southern China, leaves two Uighurs dead
5 July: Uighur protest in Urumqi over the dispute turns violent, leaving 156 dead - most of them thought to be Han - and more than 1,000 hurt
7 July: Uighur women protest at arrests of menfolk. Han Chinese make armed counter-march
8 July: President Hu Jintao returns from G8 summit to tackle crisis

Exiled Uighur organisations have said they oppose all forms of violence and condemn the alleged al-Qaeda threat.

One nation which has seen a particularly strong anti-China reaction in the wake of the Urumqi violence is Turkey.

Demonstrations have been held across the country to protest against the Chinese government's handling of the incident, and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Chinese of "genocide".

Uighurs are Turkic-speaking people and share linguistic and cultural bonds with Turks.

Turkish news agency Anatolia reported on Wednesday that a Chinese diplomat, Song Aiguo, was in Ankara for talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Mr Song, a former ambassador to Ankara, said the Chinese government felt sorrow over the Xinjiang incidents, adding that he was in Ankara to avoid possible damage to Sino-Turkish ties.

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