Zhou Yongkang

800,000 residents enlisted for security

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am


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More than 800,000 Beijing residents have been recruited to join the already heavy security presence for next week's party congress.

The 17th National Congress will involve the highest number of security staff since the previous congress in 2002, with 824,000 signed up by Thursday, The Beijing News reported yesterday.

Throughout the week, residents wearing red armbands were seen patrolling Beijing's Jingxi Hotel, where a party Central Committee plenum was held, in addition to the uniformed and plainclothes police surrounding the compound.

The report said 291,000 residents would patrol the city, citing figures from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. About 352,700 people would keep an eye on neighbourhood security, with a further 180,300 professional security guards from car parks, residential properties and government departments.

Police sources said 7,202 promotional campaigns had been held and 1.83 million copies of security-related material handed out.

The event has attracted a flood of petitioners into the capital trying to get their concerns addressed.

Police cars, mostly from Beijing and a few from other provinces such as Liaoning , a major source of petitioners, were seen patrolling around the Jingxi Hotel.

Earlier this week, Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang called on public security organs at all levels to 'keep fighting spirits high' to create a peaceful social environment for the congress, Xinhua reported.

A crackdown on dissidents was also stepped up, with several taken into police custody ahead of the congress.