For the first time in the exam’s more than 30-year history, the gaokao tests in Beijing will be conducted under heavy guard this weekend, with gun-toting anti-terror police on patrol and the exam papers to be delivered by armoured cars.
The extra security for some 70,000 students sitting the exams in Beijing is part of the central government’s counter-terrorism operations, launched in the wake of bombing attacks elsewhere on the mainland.
They will sit the two-day exams, which last from morning to afternoon, at more than 100 testing centres, according to The Beijing News.
China’s university entrance test has been administered since 1955, but was interrupted during the Cultural Revolution. The test was relaunched in its current form in 1977.
In Beijing’s Xicheng district, police will station an armoured vehicle, carrying guns and anti-riot equipment, to each of 19 testing centres.
Seven “armed police vehicles” will be responsible for delivering the test papers in Fengtai district. Afterwards, the cars will be on patrol.
The Beijing Youth Daily reported that high-school students there had complained about loud music and noise from the dancers between 7pm to 10pm – interrupting their hours for self-study.
In Haidian district, which has the most number of examinees this year, students are required to present their ID cards apart from just their admission papers.
Police in Dongcheng district have prepared contingency plans and conducted emergency drills.
In the southern district of Daxing, which spans the suburbs, more than 100 police will be assigned to patrol five testing centres – double the officers deployed last year.
Chaoyang and Shijingshan district police have also been working with related authorities to conduct safety checks and “clean-ups” of surrounding areas – including asking the dancing retirees to hold off on their public dances.
When chengguan, or city police, approached 300 retirees in Fengtai, they refused to leave but promised to turn down the music.
More than 9.39 million students nationwide have registered for the exam this year, according Ministry of Education statistics.