HONG KONG -- It's a dangerous world out there and, as China is finding out, it's getting more dangerous by the day. Beijing was shocked last month when terrorists believed to be linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization kidnapped two Chinese engineers working on a dam project in a tribal area of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.

The kidnappers demanded that Pakistan release several militants who were being held in custody. Pakistani forces mounted a rescue attempt, in the course of which all five kidnappers were killed. One of the Chinese engineers, Wang Peng, was killed during the firefight; the other, Wang Ende, was released.

This was but the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Chinese. On April 11, seven Chinese men were seized as hostages in Iraq and held for 36 hours before being released. The kidnappers apparently mistook them for Japanese.