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September 3, 2009

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Armed police gear up for National Day security

TENS of thousands of armed police will be guarding major facilities and streets as security is tightened for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Several thousand members of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force will make security checks and guard against possible terrorist attacks in Beijing, center stage for the celebrations scheduled around National Day on October 1.
The PAPF headquarters has selected elite members from its rapid-response units to guard the capital, according to a statement issued yesterday.
Shanghai, where the World Expo will be held next year, has also been targeted by the armed police for protection against possible security threats, said the statement by the PAPF, China's internal security force.
It also said armed police garrisoned in Tibet and Xinjiang have been involved in maintaining stability in those regions, where security levels have been intensified.
In addition to the four priority sites, armed police in Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Shandong, which surround Beijing, have been ordered to tighten security and act as the capital's "moat."
General Wu Shuangzhan, commander of the 660,000-strong force, ordered the troops to prepare for worst-case scenarios with detailed plans and training.
Under the dual command of the Central Military Commission and the State Council, the armed police played a major role in quelling riots and maintaining stability in Lhasa on March 14 last year and in Urumqi on July 5 this year.
China's national legislators last week approved the country's first law on the PAPF, formally authorizing the force to handle terrorist attacks and other social emergencies.
Under the new law, the PAPF troops can "take necessary measures" to disperse large assemblies of people that compromise social order and the security of facilities the PAPF protects. PAPF personnel can interrogate suspicious persons and check their identification documents, belongings and vehicles when they assist the police in traffic control.
To ensure safety of Beijing's Capital International Airport, armed police have been deployed at the facility's three terminals since the end of last month to help patrol against violence and terrorist attacks.


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