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China Denies Report of Terrorist Threat in Beijing Hotels


China says a terrorism warning that appeared on the U.S. Embassy in Beijing's Web site was fabricated, and the embassy has withdrawn the statement.

The warning had appeared on an embassy web page that is meant to keep American citizens in China informed on safety and health information.

The message said Chinese police had warned that Islamic extremists might be planning attacks on four and five-star hotels next week in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the warning was the work of an impostor.

"We took note of the report and doubled-checked immediately with the Public Security Bureau," he explained. "The so-called attack threat to luxury hotels is a fabrication by foreign nationals. Chinese police never issued such a warning."

Mr. Liu gave no details on the identity of those behind the allegedly phony warning or how that warning was conveyed to the U.S. embassy.

Embassy officials retracted the warning, saying Chinese police had informed them the threat was not credible. The officials - who say they are obliged to immediately disclose news of potential threats to American citizens - said embassy security officers contacted Chinese police, who then investigated the message.

Officials said the U.S. government is not aware of any other information about any threat against hotels in China, including Hong Kong.

A terrorist attack by Muslim extremists would be rare in this country, where police keep close tabs on suspected militants. China routinely cracks down on militant separatists in the country's western Xinjiang region, which has a large Muslim population.

International human rights advocates have accused Chinese authorities of using the international campaign against terrorism to persecute members of the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic group in Xinjiang.

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