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Beijing Unveils Security Plan for 2008 Olympics

Beijing gave details on Wednesday of its 2008 Olympic Games security scheme, which involves nearly all the security organizations in the city including public security, national security and the armed police.

Safety departments at work units and drivers of subway trains, buses and taxis will also be involved, according to Qiang Wei, Beijing's deputy Party secretary.

He said Beijing would also work with the security organizations of other countries, such as the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Russia, to enhance its defenses against riots or terrorist attacks.

Qiang, who also heads the coordination team organizing Olympic security that was established last December, he did not reveal the budget for the security scheme, which includes comprehensive protection in the air, on land and at sea.

Athens, last year's Olympic Games host, spent more than 1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) on security.

China's security program may include many features similar to those used in Athens, which had a vast computer surveillance network with thousands of hidden cameras and microphones that analyzed dozens of languages.

"We should learn from Athens, which had an advanced security management system and high-tech equipment in order to ensure a safe environment for the Games," said Qiang.

The city has already dispatched 39 people in five groups to Athens to study its experiences.

"We do not want to turn Beijing into a fortress, but a place with an auspicious and peaceful atmosphere that will make athletes, coaches and visitors feel relaxed and safe," Qiang said.

Ma Zhenchuan, director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said that providing good service to participants and visitors is another priority task.

The Beijing PSB is carrying out a seven-year language-training program that started in 2001, when Beijing was picked to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"We have published a textbook of Olympic Security English that focuses on the handling of every possible problem that may arise during our security work for the Games," said Ma.

He said his team would set up an Olympic security command center and an intelligence center by June this year.

(China Daily March 24, 2005)

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