Shanghai squirms in ring of steel

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am

Shanghai residents have been engaging in a new pastime this week: swapping stories of extreme security measures and strategies to get to work as the city gears up to host a meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation on Thursday.

The city has not imposed security like this - locking down entire sections of the city and stationing police along the routes of motorcades to prevent potential acts of terrorism - since the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in 2001.

Some even argue security measures for the six SCO members and four observers are stricter than those for the 21 Apec leaders, who included US President George W. Bush. A consultancy in a building overlooking an elevated highway has been told that police will be stationed on all floors while motorcades pass, and all occupants must register before gaining access from tomorrow.

The government has ordered renowned restaurant M on the Bund to shut tomorrow, according to a spokeswoman, as leaders watch fireworks at the waterfront Bund district.

Shanghai declared a three-day holiday for government bodies, allowing a five-day break combined with the weekend.

For companies that have decided that the wheels of commerce must continue to turn, workers are contemplating novel ways to get to the office.

Traffic controls are most restrictive around the meeting venue, the International Conference Centre opposite the Oriental Pearl Television Tower and Pudong financial district.