Before APEC Summit, Beijing Flexes Security Muscle
Security preparations in Beijing have greatly increased in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) to be held Nov. 5-11. Heavily armed police are patrolling the city; anti-terrorism exercises are being held; people entering the city are being strictly inspected; limitations on the sale of gas and chemical products have been put in place.
Beginning on Monday, armed police have been put on duty at the summit place at Yanqi Lake in the Huairou District of northern Beijing, according to the state-run Beijing News.
All the entrances and exits of the conference hall and all the roads to the place are guarded with armed police. Plainclothes guards and armed police in patrol cars are also on a 24 hour watch near the summit site, the report says.
The security level at the airports, transportation hubs, and major roads in Beijing have also been enhanced. Passengers taking long-distance buses entering Beijing recently received identity checks three times, according to Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily on Oct. 26.
The bus terminal of the Qingdao Jiaoyun Group in Beijing confirmed that it received orders from public security to require travelers register with their real-names from Oct. 24 to Nov. 13, and to increase security efforts.
On Oct. 27, Beijing hosted two counter-terrorism exercises at the China National Convention Center in central Beijing and the International Convention and Exhibition Center at Yanqi Lake in Huairou, according to the website of the state-run People’s Daily.
The Beijing Administration of Work Safety earlier also published an announcement to stop selling bulk gas at gas stations in Beijing from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15. Production and sales activities of toxic chemical and explosive chemical productions is suspended in Beijing from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, the announcement says.
The State Council also issued a week-long holiday to state organizations, institutional organizations, and social organizations in Beijing from Nov. 7 to 12, reducing the amount of activity in the city for the convenience of APEC.
During the period, schools in Beijing from kindergartens to universities will all close, and hospitals will have various departments opening for a half day instead of 24 hours, the state news media says.
To fight against the severe smog pollution that has hit Beijing three times in the past month, Beijing will limit or suspend the production of 141 manufacturing plants in Beijing during the summit.
Meanwhile, Beijing will ban vehicles with even and odd-numbered license plates on alternate days from Nov. 3 to 12, which will ease the serious traffic jams and improve the air quality as well.
However, the series of limitations during the APEC summit have aroused complaints among many Beijing netizens.
“Chinese people’s lives are too cheap. Ordinary people’s lives have to change when Beijing hosts the APEC summit,” posted Chinese Weibo user “Wang Ger.” “People are forced to take public transportation due to the even and odd-numbered license plates limitation, to open roads for leaders from other countries.”
“With the meeting, the city started to inspect the environment and air a week in advance” Wang Ger posted. “Without the meeting, people’s life and death are ignored!”