Chinese commandos Sanlitun
Chinese commandos patrol the Sanlitun area of Beijing in response to a threat against WesternersReuters

British, French and US governments have warned their citizens about "possible threats against Westerners" in the Chinese capital Beijing on or around Christmas Day.

British and US officials said they had received information about possible threats to their citizens in the Sanlitun area of the city, popular for its bars and shops.

All three embassies warned their citizens and consular staff to be vigilant.

Chinese police say they have issued a yellow alert in response to the threat, the second highest in the state's four-tier terror alert.

In August, a man in the area attacked a Chinese woman and a Frenchman. The woman later died of her wounds in hospital, Xinhua reported.