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Security has been tightened across the United States after the killing of Iran’s military chief on Friday. Photo: AFP

Chinese embassy in US issues safety warning as tensions rise over killing of Iran’s military chief Qassem Soleimani

  • Chinese citizens in the US should ‘closely watch the security situation, stay alert and take safety precautions’, mission says
  • Iran promised to retaliate after head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force was killed in a US air strike on Friday
Phoebe Zhang
The Chinese embassy in Washington has issued a safety warning to Chinese citizens living in the US, amid increased security risks there following the killing of Iran’s top military commander major general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq on Friday.

“The Chinese embassy suggests and reminds Chinese citizens in the US to closely watch the security situation, stay alert and take safety precautions, be cautious before going to public places,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

Anyone who fears or encounters a possible threat should contact the embassy or their local consulate, or call the Chinese foreign ministry’s 24-hour emergency hotline, it said.

Soleimani, who was head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, was killed in an air strike near Baghdad airport that was approved by US President Donald Trump.

Tehran said it would retaliate, prompting the US to raise the threat level to American personnel and assets overseas, and increase security across America, including in the capital, Washington.
Tehran has promised to avenge the death of its military chief, Qassem Soleimani. Photo: AP

Trump said on Twitter on Saturday that the US was targeting 52 sites in Iran and would hit them “very fast and very hard” if the Islamic republic attacked US personnel or assets.

“We have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” and “if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets … Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD”.

The embassy’s statement was read more than 130 million times on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, with social media users expressing their concern for Chinese people in the US.


“Our fellow compatriots in the US, please be careful and stay safe!” one person said.

Others condemned the US and Trump for “dragging the world into an endless war”.

Since the attack, Beijing has called on all sides, especially Washington, to exercise restraint as tensions rise in the Middle East.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing was “ highly concerned” about the growing tensions in the region and opposed the use of force in international relations.

“China advocates that all parties should earnestly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations,” he said at a press briefing on Friday.


“We urge all parties concerned, especially the United States, to keep calm and exercise restraint and avoid a further escalation of tensions.”

A spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that “the world cannot afford another war in the Gulf”.

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This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Trump threatens to hit 52 sites in Iran ‘hard and fast’