Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun says city must focus efforts on stability

Wang Anshun announces plans for tighter internet controls and new anti-riot measuresas capital prepares for Apec summit in autumn

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 3:33am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 3:33am

Beijing municipal authorities plan to step up anti-terrorism efforts in the wake of October's deadly car explosion in Tiananmen Square - in part by regulating the internet more closely - the capital's mayor said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, Mayor Wang Anshun said that cleaning up the air was one of the many problems the capital faced, as well as keeping the population in check.

Wang said Beijing would include counterterrorism and riot prevention among its "stability maintenance" plans, and would tighten control over the internet. The government would also launch "special rectification campaigns" to prevent major incidents.

He said such measures were justified as the capital was hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' meeting in October. It also planned to bid for the 2020 Winter Olympics.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the decision to keep a closer eye on the internet was largely prompted by the October 28 car attack in Tiananmen Square that killed two tourists.

A Uygur man, his wife and mother died when their jeep crashed and burst into flames, in what Beijing police called a suicide attack. Security officials have blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

"Beijing needs to [address] … such problems because, even though they don't happen very often, each instance makes a huge social impact," Li said.

The capital needed to deal with internet and information security as terrorists had taken to distributing provocative material such as video clips online.

"Radical thoughts are spread through the mobile internet, and are posing a more serious threat to society," Li said.

The capital, Wang said, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.5 per cent and lower average levels of PM2.5, the pollutants considered the most dangerous to human health, by 5 per cent this year. That was in line with previous pledges to cut concentrations by a quarter by 2017.

Wang said last year that the capital would "considerably cut PM2.5" and "build a city with blue skies … and clean water".

The capital then announced it would remove 180,000 old vehicles from its roads, and the total for the year was more than double that number, Wang said.

Measures would be taken to slow the growth in the number of permanent residents in the capital, as had been recommended by a study on population growth.

However, Wang said a policy allowing more parents to have a second child, as backed by senior leaders following their third plenary session in November, would be introduced later this year.

Budgets for official hospitality, purchases of official cars and official overseas visits would be cut by more than 12 per cent this year. Economic growth would be about 7.5 per cent, compared with 7.6 per cent last year.