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China warns of reprisals in Algeria after unrest

APTOPIX China Protest

China warns of reprisals in Algeria after unrest

URUMQI, China – 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 China.”

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.

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Clashes over slums break out in Algiers

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Clashes over slums break out in Algiers

ALGIERS (AFP) – Youths from a slum in Algeria‘s capital clashed Tuesday with police in a protest against their housing conditions, leaving at least 11 policemen injured.

Similar incidents had occurred on Monday as residents of the Diar Echems working-class district of Algiers protested against their squalid housing and demanded new homes.

At around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT), dozens of youths were harassing riot police by throwing stones and other projectiles at them from an area that overlooks the road, which was closed to all traffic.

At least 11 police officers were wounded, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. The police practically sealed off the area, keeping the youths at a distance. Some of the youths wore balaclavas to hide their faces.

The police then brought in anti-riot vehicles and beefed up their presence to pre-empt further clashes and attacks on banks and shops near the area.

Residents of the district sometimes live 10 to a single room or in shacks, according to accounts in the Algerian press, and they have begun to protest at these conditions and press for better housing.

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