China / Society

Security tightened at railway stations, airports in major cities

By Xu Wei in Beijing, Yang Wanli in Kunming and Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-04 08:06

Major cities around China have ramped up police patrols in the wake of the terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province that left 29 people dead.

Police in Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other provincial capitals, including Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and Changsha, Hunan province, have stepped up police forces at transport hubs and public areas such as shopping malls and schools, authorities said.

Eight knife-wielding masked attackers at the railway station killed 29 people and injured 143 others on Saturday night. Police killed four of the assailants at the scene and arrested one woman.

In Beijing, where the annual two sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are being held, security throughout the city has been upgraded.

Beijing Party chief Guo Jinlong and Mayor Wang Anshun held an emergency meeting after the attack and increased the police presence at key areas in the capital, according to an online news statement by the municipal government.

Jia Peng, spokesman for the Beijing Subway Company, which operates most of the capital's subway lines, said the company has tightened security checks on passengers.

"We have been ordered to strengthen security checks and increase coordination with police," he said.

Beijing Capital International Airport has urged passengers to arrive at the airport earlier than usual because heightened security checks will lengthen wait times.

In Shanghai, armed police are patrolling railway stations, which have beefed up security checks at entrances. Police are also carrying out spot checks on passengers.

At Hongqiao and Pudong airports, more passengers are being asked to open their carry-on luggage for inspections, according to a security staff member at Hongqiao International Airport.

As of Sunday, police officers expanded their patrols at Guangzhou railway stations, according to a news release from Guangdong provincial public security department.

Li Chunsheng, deputy governor of Guangdong province, urged police across the province to make every effort to ensure that social order is maintained and that the railway network operates smoothly after the attack.

"(The heightened security) is understandable and acceptable," said Xu Zhifeng, a migrant worker from Hunan province. Xu was stopped by a police officer at Guangzhou Railway Station on Monday afternoon and asked to show his identity card.

Xu said he saw tighter security checks before entering one of the waiting halls at the railway station, one of the three busiest in the country.

There was a heavy police presence at Kunming Railway Station two days after the attack, with armed officers in groups of three or four patrolling ticket counters and security gates.

Liu Lizhi, a maintenance worker at the station, said the police presence is greater than usual at the station.

"But I am still very unsure whether another attack would happen," said Liu.

The city has also strengthened security at schools and has required teachers and administrators to be on duty at school gates to guard students before and after school, the Kunming education authority said on its official micro blog.

Li Rong, a 31-year-old taxi driver, said the number of passengers at night in Kunming has dropped significantly after the attack.

"It was a city with a rich night life. Now you can barely see anybody on the streets at night," he said.

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Wang Hongyi in Shanghai contributed to this story.

(China Daily 03/04/2014 page4)

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