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Police Stations to Be Set up in Beijing's Universities
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Police stations are to be established inside the campuses of ten universities in Beijing, including Qinghua University and Renmin University.

A statement from the municipal public security bureau said police officers will carry out round-the-clock campus patrols and the stations will be open 24 hours. Officers will also be required to monitor a CCTV-camera network which will cover the campus area.

The announcement has raised concerns over students' rights to privacy.

"I will feel much safer if there are police stations on campus and I hope thieves will be deterred on hearing this news," said Su Jing, a postgraduate student at Qinghua.

"But I think the number of police officers that will be stationed on campus is very important. If I see groups of officers patrolling the campus when I am on my way to the dining hall or library, I might feel nervous. I will think, 'Has something serious happened? Has there been a terrorist incident?'"

A regulation from the Ministry of Education was released on July 6 requiring all university students to live in on-campus dormitories. The rule irritated some students with boyfriends or girlfriends but the majority agreed that it would be very difficult to enforce.

Su believes the planned police presence could also interfere with relationships between students.

"If a couple goes for a nighttime walk at around 10 or 11 PM, which is quite normal, I hope the police will not bother us, thinking that we are up to something bad," she said.

Su's mother welcomed the plan. "My daughter has lost two bicycles on campus, so I hope the police in the universities will safeguard the students' property," she said.

Han Mei, an associate professor at the Capital Normal University (CNU), one of the ten higher education institutions to have police stations, also approved of the idea.

"So many strangers are coming in and out of the campus every day, selling goods or decorating rooms in teachers' apartments. All this coming and going makes me feel ill at ease," the 40-year old woman said.

"One of my colleagues was injured when fighting with a robber inside her apartment," she said.

In 2004, Xiong Shenshu, a professor at Qinghua University, was killed by a man attempting to rob her apartment. The man later said he had targeted Xiong because he had seen her driving a BMW which suggested to him that she was wealthy.

"As university campuses are not fenced off from the streets outside, it has become the target of crime, mostly theft and robbery," said Luo Feng, a security guard with the CNU, without revealing specific crime figures.

"The police station will ensure the campus is safe," Luo said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2007)

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