China warns citizens in Algeria of Al Qaeda threat
The terrorist group has reportedly vowed to attack Chinese in North Africa to avenge the deaths of Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang Province.
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The warnings are an unwelcome wakeup call to China, which has expanded its influence throughout the developing world by telling local governments that they are "fellows from a developing nation ... and not colonial masters and foes," says The Times of London, adding that Chinese working overseas "felt little vulnerability to kidnappings or terrorist attacks."Skip to next paragraph
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That could be about to change. Official numbers are unavailable for the number of Chinese working in Africa but hundreds of thousands are thought to be scattered across the continent. They would make easy targets for extremist militant groups.
Even if al-Qaeda's leaders are in no hurry to expand their fight — already under fierce assault in Pakistan and Afghanistan — affiliate groups may be given a free hand to attack Chinese interests in Africa.
Anger has been growing in the Muslim world at China's handling of the Xinjiang unrest. According to The Jakarta Globe, protests have been held at the Chinese embassy there. Turkey's prime minister has described the situation in Xinjiang as "genocide," The Christian Science Monitor reports.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang appealed to Muslim countries to see China's side of the story and denied that the official response to the unrest would harm its standing in the Islamic world, reports the Associated Press. An editorial in the state-owned China Daily demanded that Turkey retract its remark on genocide.
Al Jazeera reports that Washington-based Uighur exile leader Rebiya Kadeer criticized Al Qaeda for taking advantage "of the Uighur people's legitimate aspirations and the current tragedy in East Turkestan," the name many Uighurs use for the province.