Roadblocks, identity checks a way of life as security tightened
Beijing has tightened security ahead of next month's Olympics by imposing strict inspections on vehicles, spectators and tourists into the capital.
Starting from next week until the end of September, Beijing-bound vehicles will have to navigate their way through hundreds of roadside checkpoints.
The checkpoints will be equipped with metal detectors, security scanners and up to three sniffer dogs looking for explosives, and police officers will be empowered to confiscate prohibited items, control 'dangerous items and people' and capture suspects in major crimes, Xinhua reported.
The first line of defence will be at expressways, airports and railway stations, the second at major roads from the six suburban districts surrounding Beijing and the third on the main roads in downtown areas.
All vehicles registered outside Beijing will be subject to security checks. Motorists and passengers will have to present their driver's licences or identity cards as well as vehicle and cargo permits to enter.
Police would shut down roads in an emergency, the report said.
Also, Beijing's prestigious Peking University, the venue for the Olympic and Paralympic table tennis competitions, will be off-limits to tourists for two months for security reasons.
The university is a popular tourist spot because of its academic prestige and beautiful scenery. Teachers, students and staff would have to present identity cards or passes to enter the campus during the security ban on tourists, the reports said.
Mainland authorities also reminded Olympics fans yesterday of strict security rules, which include bans on carrying cigarette lighters and radioactive materials into the venues.
Some people might not pay attention to the list of prohibited items on the tickets along with other illegal items, an official with the Beijing municipal Public Security Bureau told Xinhua.
These items include cigarette lighters, soft drinks, all toxic or potentially flammable materials and explosives. Long umbrellas and handbags were new targets for security checks, the report said.
'As long as there is a security risk, security personnel can remove it,' it said.
The reminder follows reports of stepped-up security in the capital this year. Beijing police have rolled out 910 emergency measures in the past two years, and the city will have at least 150,000 security personnel on duty for the Games.
More than 3,000 inspectors at 93 subway stations have set up checkpoints to confiscate dangerous articles, flammable and radioactive materials and toxic chemicals. Bulky luggage has to go through X-ray scanners and smaller bags are subject to random checks. Sniffer dogs are being used for those checks on the rail network.
Security checks around Tiananmen Square have also been stepped up, with a modified rule allowing unannounced police searches of people and vehicles.