BEIJING — The U.S. Embassy issued an "urgent notice" on Thursday warning Americans that terrorists from another country may be planning attacks on Americans living in the Chinese capital.
The unprecedented warning, which came from Chinese public security officials on Wednesday, caused the U.S. Embassy to issue an alert to the 1,500 Americans living in China that they should take measures to protect themselves, said U.S. consular official Dewey Pendergrass.
The embassy said the Chinese did not provide specific information about the terrorists or what kind of attacks might be planned.
"The embassy believes that this warning reflects a genuine threat and that American citizens in the Beijing area should take appropriate steps to protect themselves," the notice advised.
1st Chinese Warning
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said this was the first time the Chinese government had given the United States such a warning.
She said the United States was seeking more details but was taking the threat seriously. Oakley said the U.S. government will provide information as soon as possible to assist travelers in deciding whether to go to Beijing.
In Beijing on Thursday, the embassy distributed a second memo to staff members and American businessmen. It advised against "frequenting areas known to be American hangouts" and wearing clothes that are characteristically American.
"We're taking it very seriously," Pendergrass said at an emergency meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing that was called to discuss the threat.
The embassy warning was sent to about 1,100 Americans in Beijing and the port city of Tianjin, 60 miles away, who have registered with the embassy. However, embassy officials say they believe 400 to 500 Americans, mostly students, are not registered.
Security is good in the Chinese capital and there have been no reported incidents of terrorists attacking foreigners or Chinese.