Security Tight 17th Communist Party Congress in Beijing
The 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) opened on October 15, 2007. Some twenty thousand policemen and paramilitary guards have been mobilized to “”keep order” in Beijing during the meetings that will discuss how to build a “harmonious society” under communist rule.
Mr. Li, a resident of Beijing, said that there was an increase in security around the Great Hall and Tiananmen Square on October 15. There were at least 20 policemen at every intersection and bus station. Every bus that passed Tiananmen Square had sealed windows, with police officers monitoring the passengers, to prevent appellants from throwing fliers out the windows or jumping off the buses. “Police are guarding each bus, this is a first in Beijing's history,” said Li.
Several days before the Congress began, some appellants snuck past the police line. As soon as they got close to Tiananmen Square on the 15th, plainclothes officers or special agents scooped them up and took them to a nearby police station.
An appellant with last name Yan was taken from Tiananmen to Majialou Detention Center. Yan said, “There are about 1,000 people in Majialou. I was later taken to my local government's branch office in Beijing.”
Another appellant, Mr. Shi, said a female appellant from Shandong Province attempted to jump into the Jingshui River on the 15th but the police took her away. Shi said that about 30 appellants living in his complex were taken away on the night of 14th.
An elderly woman poured gasoline over herself in an attempt to set herself ablaze on East Chang'an Street on the morning of the 15th. As soon as she got a lighter out, the police surrounded the woman and stopped her.
Mr. Li said the police arrested many appellants on Tiananmen Square. The appellants rushed toward the Great Hall as soon as the Congress started. Li passed by Tiananmen at around 10 a.m. and saw a steady stream of police cars taken arrested appellants to Majialou Detention Center.
Beijing human rights activist Liu Anjun has been under house arrest since September 30. There were two police cars and many officers downstairs in and around his apartment watching him. A police officer has been designated to escort Liu whenever he leaves his apartment. Liu's home phone was also cut off.
Noted Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia had over 30 police officers and six police cars outside his house watching him.
Many Beijing residents criticized this Congress, saying it would cost hundreds of millions of yuan and that no political party in the world spends so much money and mobilizes so much manpower just to have a meeting, at the taxpayers' expense.