SECURITY

18th Party Congress

Beijing on high alert for party's national congress

City government launches emergency strategy and urges citizens to help event run smoothly

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 9:55am

Municipal government agencies and public utilities in Beijing were put on high alert yesterday to ensure everything goes smoothly in the capital during the Communist Party's 18th national congress, scheduled to open on Thursday next week.

The official Beijing Daily reported that the municipal government convened a video conference on Monday about an emergency response mechanism covering water, electricity, gas and heating supplies and traffic and fire safety.

The system was launched at 9am yesterday and will continue until 9am on November 16, two days after the expected close of the week-long party congress.

During Monday's conference, Beijing vice-mayor Li Shixiang called on people from all walks of life in the capital to spare no effort in ensuring the security and smooth running of the party congress, it said.

It added that during the final meeting of the party's outgoing Central Committee, which opens tomorrow and is likely to last for three or four days, and the five-yearly party congress, relevant units had to implement around-the-clock duty shifts and be ready to attend a video conference within 15 minutes of any emergency.

In an effort to safeguard the security of the party congress, which will see a once-a-decade transfer of power at the top of the party, the Ministry of Railways vowed this month to step up security checks and banned all passengers from carrying knives.

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the party's powerful Politburo Standing Committee who is in charge of law enforcement and security, sought the co-operation of officials at all levels around the country.

He urged them to tighten checks on social conflicts, better handle petitions from the people, seriously address people's reasonable appeals and evaluate the risks to social stability arising from major issues, so as to prevent and reduce social conflicts at source.

Last week, Justice Minister Wu Aiying urged law enforcement authorities to spare no effort in "maintaining social stability to foster a safe, stable and harmonious environment for a triumphant 18th party congress".