Security work for Beijing Olympics goes through details

July 9th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 9 (Xinhua) The public has been recently reminded again that they are not allowed to take long umbrellas as well as soft drinks, lighters and liquids into the Olympic stadiums during the Games. An official of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security said some people might not pay attention to those daily items which were listed on tickets along with other illegal items, such as explosives.

According to the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG), security staff won’t keep the banned daily items for the audience during the Games as they did in the “Good Luck Beijing” test events.

As long as there is a security risk, security personnel get to remove it.

After series of national-level anti-terrorist drills held in Beijing and other co-host cities including Shanghai, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang and Qingdao, the security work has also been extended to more detailed aspects.

Like the long umbrellas, people’s handbags became new target for security checks. Beijing subway passengers were subjected to new security checks June 29 at the start of a three-month campaign to ensure a safe Olympic Games and Paralympics.

More than 3,000 inspectors at 93 metro stations began searches for dangerous articles, including guns, ammunition, knives, explosives, flammable and radioactive materials, and toxic chemicals.

Large items of luggage would be checked by X-ray machines, while smaller bags would be randomly checked. More than 30 dogs were also to be used for random inspections, and another 30 were being trained, according to Jia Peng, a spokesman of the Beijing subway system.

Liquids would also be checked, unless the passenger takes a drink in front of inspectors.

Beijing has five subway lines in operation with 140 kilometres of track, transporting millions of passengers every day.

More than 90 dangerous items were stopped from getting into the capital’s subways and more than 50 passengers were turned away on the first day of compulsory security checks.

The government has enacted a slew of measures this year to ensure aviation safety ahead of the Olympics, banning lighters and matches from carry-on luggage and telling passengers to remove their shoes for security checks.

From May 1, the Civil Aviation Administration stepped up pre-flight data reporting for passengers and crews on international flights and limited the number of cabin baggage articles.

Airlines are prohibited from carrying explosives for civil use, guns and ammunition to the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Qinhuangdao and Qingdao from July 1 to September 30, according to the administration.

Flights carrying high-risk chemicals, such as poisonous gas and radioactive substances, to other cities must be inspected and authorized by the administration. Those with dangerous goods that are urgently needed by the state or in disaster relief work must go through the same process and be recorded.

Beijing now has a 150,000-strong security guard contingent plus 290,000 volunteers doing patrols.

During the event, security guards who are directly assigned to the Games would number at least 80,000, according to Ma Zhenchuan, director of the Olympic security command.

The security around the Tian’anmen Square in the heart of the national capital has been tightened as a set of revised rules allow unannounced searching of people and vehicles by police for banned items in the vast square, a political symbol as well as a popular tourist destination in the country.

Meanwhile, service stations for migrant workers have been set up, covering more than 7,000 communities and villages in Beijing, to strengthen management of migrant population in the city and to lower public security risks.

Security concerns have also been applied to foreigners. The BOCOG posted a legal guide for foreigners on its official website in June.

It prohibits overseas visitors from taking ammunition, explosives, counterfeit currency notes, narcotics and poisons, among others, into China, warns overseas visitors against shouting insulting slogans or displaying them on banners, and forbids the display of religious, political or racial banners at sports venues.

“Security work is the basis and key to a successful Olympics… and it has come to a critical point as the Games approach,” said China’s top security official Zhou Yongkang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, on an inspection tour of the safety work for the Olympics.

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