The Foreign Office transmitted a warning from the British Embassy in Beijing about “possible threats against Westerners” in the Sanlitun area of the Chinese capital, on or around Christmas Day. The district is centred on the liveliest “bar street” in the city, which is popular with expatriates and tourists.
The FCO said: “British citizens are urged to exercise heightened vigilance. The UK Embassy has issued the same guidance to British Government staff.” Previously, the travel advice had warned only of “a general threat from terrorism,” adding that “foreigners haven’t been specifically targeted”,
The alert followed a decision by the UK’s biggest holiday company, Thomson, about another location regarded as risky: Sharm el Sheikh airport in Egypt. The firm, which includes the First Choice subsidiary, has cancelled all departures to the leading Egyptian resort until 23 March at the earliest.
On 31 October, a Russian charter flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed with the loss of 224 lives. While the Egyptian authorities are still investigating the tragedy, the Kremlin insists the Metrojet Airbus A321 was downed by a bomb placed on board at the airport.
In the wake of the crash, the Foreign Office banned UK airlines from flying to Sharm el Sheikh while security concerns at the airport are addressed. The government in Cairo has appointed a British firm, Control Risks, to help enhance security.