US issues threat warning to westerners in popular Beijing shopping area

CCTV News

Photo: Weibo.com Photo: Weibo.com

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Thursday issued a warning on its website for possible threats against westerners in the popular entertainment and shopping district of Sanlitun area around Christmas Day.

The warning went viral online as people told friends and family to stay away from the area, one of the hot spots in Beijing during Christmas.

Security level raised in Chinese capital for westerners

Security level raised in Chinese capital for westerners

Beijing has issued a security alert for popular shopping areas. A growing number of shoppers are expected at stores during the Christmas season. And, several Western embassies have also warned their nationals to exercise caution in commercial areas, that are popular among tourists. CCTV's Roee Ruttenberg has the story.

Photos taken and posted by Weibo users around midday on Thursday show a heavily armed police presence in Sanlitun.
Hours earlier before the U.S. embassy posted the warning, Beijing police issued a ‘yellow’ security alert in the city on and around Christmas Day and the New Year’s Day. The usually crowded places, including shopping areas, public streets and tourist attractions, will see stricter security measures during this period.

Screenshot of the notice by the U.S. embassy in Beijing

The U.S. warning comes exactly one month and one day since the State Department warned Americans around the world generally that they should be alert to possible travel risks, especially during the holidays. The more general travel alert is expected to stay in effect until Feb. 24.