Provinces to help secure Beijing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am

Beijing extended its security perimeter to six additional provinces and municipalities as the government stretched its resources and flexed its muscles to ensure nothing spoils its grand National Day parade on October 1.

Senior leaders from Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Liaoning provinces, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities signed an agreement this weekend promising to use all their resources to provide 'total security' for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic.

Besides setting up checkpoints on all roads leading to Beijing and closely sharing security information, the six regions also agreed to launch pre-emptive campaigns to crack down on people perceived as posing security risks.

In Beijing, three layers of security forces have been deployed across the city. Armed security forces have been sent to Beijing's borders to check people and vehicles heading to the city. Passengers without proper identification cards or vehicles without entry permits are denied entry.

Another security layer has been deployed on the outskirts of the capital, mainly around the fifth and fourth ring roads, to stop and check vehicles.

The tightest security checks have been imposed in metropolitan areas, mainly within Beijing's third ring road. Passengers on public transport must pass their bags through scanners and, later this month, no liquids will be allowed.

Armed police have been making their presence felt in downtown areas as well, with riot vans and armed personnel manning major intersections during the past two weekends.

The security plan is the same as for the Olympic Games, but according to a security volunteer in Chaoyang district, officials have asked for an even bigger effort this time.

A retiree surnamed Wang said police had told volunteers that 'compared with the Olympics, this is more our own party, so we have to give an even better effort to make it a success'. He said volunteers were trained last month to carry out neighbourhood-watch-style security work.

Beijing's post office announced last week that most liquid items could not be shipped into or out of Beijing from September until October 8, the end of the eight-day National Day holiday. The same restrictions were imposed last year.

News media have been ordered to trumpet achievements from the past six decades and avoid negative news in the build-up to the celebrations, which will feature a mass performance of up to 180,000 people and a hotly anticipated military parade.