China has told its citizens in Turkey to be on the alert as a dispute between the two nations over the treatment of Uygurs in the Xinjiang region escalates. The Chinese embassy in Ankara advised residents and tourists travelling to Turkey to “be wary and pay attention to their personal safety”. Turkey on Sunday described China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uygur people as “a great embarrassment for humanity”, prompting a strong rebuke. Beijing said that the Turkish criticisms were “vile”, and that Turkey should have a proper understanding of the legal efforts made by China to fight terrorism and extremism within its borders effectively. China has already issued warnings to Canada and Sweden – where relations with Beijing have nosedived – in a move analysts described as an expression of displeasure. China and Canada have been at loggerheads since the arrest on December 1 of Huawei executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, whom the US wants to extradite on fraud charges. Meng has since been released on bail in Vancouver. Uygur man, detained in Turkey for suspected terror links, wary of China’s reach In January, against the background of Meng’s situation, China issued a warning of the risk of travelling to Canada, hours after Ottawa issued a similar alert. A notice by the Chinese foreign ministry said citizens should be aware of the risk of being “arbitrarily detained at the request of a third nation” in Canada, and urged caution when making travel plans. In December, China issued a travel alert warning its citizens about the risks of visiting Sweden. The two sides have long been at odds over human rights, but in early September a group of Chinese tourists claimed they had been mistreated by the Swedish police, an incident that generated a fierce backlash. China and Sweden are also at odds over Beijing’s detention of Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen and publisher of books critical of China’s leadership. Transcript of Gui Minhai’s government-arranged interview: ‘Swedish government used me’ “The statement made by the Chinese embassy is a countermeasure on the Turkish government,” said analyst Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “It is a message telling the Turkish government that you should not say too much about the internal affairs in China, otherwise economic relationships, tourism, this sort of thing, could be affected.” Analysts said that while there was a potential risk for Chinese citizens in Turkey, the situation was not grave. “People making transfer flights in Istanbul will not have to worry,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University. “But there may be increased risk for Chinese tourists travelling deep into the country from Muslim groups such as the Turkestan Islamic Party after Turkey’s strong stance.” “I think it will have an impact on a very small number of tourists,” Li said.