Thousands of sturdy young men, mainly from northern China, have been recruited to serve as Olympics guards and will receive security and etiquette training.
A group of 200 security guards from the northeastern province of Jilin arrived by train in Beijing on Wednesday. The strongly built young men, moving in orderly formation, caught people's eyes and some Beijingers initially mistook them for special police.
"This is the first group of security guards we selected for the Beijing Olympic Games. There will be more," said Liu Daqing, director of the Employment Service Bureau in Shuangliao City, Jilin, who helped select the new guards.
He said that the guards were aged 23 on average and stood higher than 1.74 meters. They could speak standard Mandarin and basic English.
"Security guards assigned to Olympics duties will undergo selective training in self-defense, first aid, emergency procedures, protocol and language," said an official with the Dongcheng Division of the Beijing Security Guard Service Company.
The company, run by the city's police bureau, will help police to keep order during the 2008 Olympic Games. The company has not only asked all of its 30 divisions to select guards for Olympics duty but also sent invitation letters to labor service organizations in many locations to recruit new blood.
Its recruitment in Jilin Province will top 10,000 security guards this year and that from the northern Henan Province will be similar.
Gao Yu, deputy director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, said that China should encourage security guards to play a role during the Olympics and make them an important element in public security.
Beijing would need many security guards and volunteers to help Games attendees go through security procedures and to maintain order at Olympics venues.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2008)