Tight security for Urumqi expo

Source: Xinhua  |   2011-8-31  |     NEWSPAPER EDITION

The story appears on Page A2
Aug 31, 2011

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AUTHORITIES have increased security in Urumqi as the northwestern Chinese city prepares to host the first China-Eurasia Expo, with leaders of China and its neighbors in central and south Asia expected to attend.

Fully armed police toting rifles were seen guarding the convention venue in suburban Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, yesterday, two days before the official opening. SWAT teams were deployed to handle security checks at the entrance.

The authorities declared a low-altitude "no flight zone" in areas around Urumqi that effectively ban anything from light aircraft to hot-air balloons during the event. Even pigeon flying has been banned.

Airports in a dozen cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, had tightened security screenings for Urumqi-bound flights since Sunday with passengers asked to remove their shoes and have their carry-on luggage open for inspection.

The increased security comes amid a two-month crackdown on terrorism ordered by regional authorities earlier this month following a spate of violence in two major southern Xinjiang cities which left at least 40 people dead and dozens injured.

A unit of the Snow Leopard Commandos, an elite counter-terrorism force under the People's Armed Police, has been deployed from Beijing.

"Security is paramount," said Yu Xiudong, a senior member of the expo organizing committee, yesterday.

"We should make meticulous preparations against all security emergencies to ensure a safe expo."

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