Anti-terrorism forces train in lead-up to 60th anniversary of People's Republic

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am

Anti-terrorism forces have begun a series of drills in provinces near Beijing in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1.

The drills, labelled 'Great Wall 6', started in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, yesterday with the scenario of terrorists preparing to detonate a nuclear 'dirty' bomb, Xinhua reported. A dirty bomb is a device containing radioactive material, detonated using conventional explosives.

In the scenario, a group of terrorists chased by police detonated a dirty bomb in a room. The autonomous region's government mobilised police environmental experts and medical personnel to clear the area and contain the spread of radiation, Xinhua said without further explanation.

Drill officials said the nuclear-bomb attack was designed to test the anti-terrorist forces' ability to intercept terrorists' information, and the speed and efficiency in dealing with the aftermath.

Drills covering various terrorism scenarios were to be held in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, and Zhuozhou, Hebei province, until the middle of the month, Xinhua reported.

Cai Changjun, an anti-terrorism expert from the People's Liberation Army National Defence University who took part in the drill, said it was aimed at giving security forces training in dealing with terrorist attacks in the lead-up to the National Day's grand parade, according to the Shanghai Morning Post.

Many of the current anti-terrorism forces had provided security for the Beijing Olympics last year, but Mr Cai said that success did not make this task any easier.

'Because of its political significance, the open-air environment [compared with gates and venues in stadiums], as well as the advancement of terrorists' weapons and equipment, I think the security level of this parade will be even tighter than for the Olympic Games.'

He said many of the plans prepared for the Games, such as how to deal with hostages, explosions or riots, would be used in security preparations for the National Day parade. At the same time, plans such as how to deal with terrorist attacks in vast open areas would have to be added.

Mr Cai said police and armed police would take the lead role in providing on-site security, while other forces would assist.