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Chinese merchants in Algeria write open letter to Algerians afterclash
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08:05, August 10, 2009

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Some Chinese merchants in Algeria released an open letter to the Algerian people on Sunday in which they expressed grief over a recent brawl between some local Algerians and some Chinese in Algiers.

"As Chinese merchants residing in Algeria, we express our grief over the August 3rd confrontation that happened in Bab Ezzouar in Algiers, which we think goes against the traditional friendship existing long between our two peoples," read a Chinese version of the letter provided by the Chinese embassy in Algiers.

A French version of the letter, named "Open Letter to Algerian Friends," was published on the local French newspaper Liberte.

On Aug. 3, a clash occurred when a parking dispute escalated between a young Chinese and a young Algerian in the Bab Ezzouar district in the eastern suburbs of Algiers, an area frequented by many Chinese vendors. The friends and relatives of both sides later joined the fight, causing injuries of various degrees to some Algerians and Chinese. Several Chinese stores were also looted.

The incident was "not complicated at all" and was caused "by two young daredevils on a whim" who were "arguing on the tip of a needle," the Chinese merchants said in the letter signed by the Chinese residents in Bab Ezzouar.

They stressed that China and Algeria have shared a long history of friendship, saying China has offered strong support to Algeria's liberation struggle, while thanks to Algeria's remarkable contribution, China has managed to recover its legitimate seat in the UN.

In recent years, Chinese companies are actively involved in the work of Algeria's economic development and laboriously busy in the various fields including public projects, oil, construction of highways, the Chinese merchants said.

They said more and more Chinese citizens are traveling to Algeria, and most of them live in a perfectly harmonious arrangement with Algerian friends.

"For us, this is not surprising to meet with an Algerian who welcomes us with NIHAO (Hello) in Chinese. This word reflects the affinity of our two peoples and leads to huge sweet hearts of our countrymen who are far from their families and taking Algeria as their second homeland," said the Chinese merchants.

They admitted that there were a few of their Chinese compatriots who "speak neither Arabic nor French, more or less poorly educated, can not communicate with the Algerian friends and neglect local traditions and customs."

"But it does not represent the mainstream of friendly relations between Chinese and Algerian peoples," continued the Chinese merchants.

"We have reason to believe that most Chinese citizens, including ourselves, enjoy traditional Sino-Algerian friendship and firmly oppose the irresponsible actions of some people. We believe that our Algerian friends have the same conviction as the Sino-Algerian friendship is rooted in the depth of history and can resist all kinds of tests," the letter read.

The Chinese merchants also said they sincerely hope the Algerian friends forgive the inappropriate actions of some Chinese, adding they will take the incident as a lesson and continue to make contribution to the benefits of the Algerian people and the friendship between the two countries from generation to generation.

"We also hope that any malicious attack stops immediately. We are confident that the combined efforts of our two peoples, the future of Sino-Algerian friendship become even more radiant," the Chinese merchants stressed.


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