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"Chop off their heads at their workplaces."

Al Qaeda says it will target 50,000 Chinese working in Algeria and North Africa, in retaliation for the July 5 deaths of 46 Muslim Uighurs in western China.

Two other Al Qaeda affiliated web sites are also calling for the deaths of Chinese working in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East:

"Chop off their heads at their workplaces or in their homes to tell them that the time of enslaving Muslims has gone," read one posting published by the Telegraph.

It's the first time Al Qaeda has threatened China or its interests.

Beijing, of course, has extensive business ties throughout the Middle East and Africa, where it's trying to secure energy and other resources to fuel its economic growth.

The threat has unnerved the Chinese government. Here's a statement from Beijing's Foreign Ministry:

"We hope that our Muslim brothers can realize the truth of the July 5 incident in Urumqi. Once they know the truth, they would support our ethnic and religious policies and the measures the Chinese government has taken to deal with the incident."

For more coverage of unrest in China and the plight of the Uighurs, see Kathleen McLaughlin's great reporting. See also Josh Chin's analysis on how it all goes back to money.