People power is new weapon against Olympic terrorism

Published 18 July 2008

In addition to the latest anti-terrorist technology, the city of Beijing is enlisting the city’s 15 million citizens as anti-terror eyes-and-ears for the coming Olympic Games

Chinese have deployed surface-to-air missiles, readied a 100,000-strong
anti-terrorism force, and instituted a series of security checkpoints, and the Beijing authorities now hope to
its fifteen million residents as another layer in a shield to
protect Olympics venues against possible attack. Olympic security officials are
publishing a new anti-terrorism manual to educate Chinese people about possible
threats and tell them how to respond in the event they are captured or
encounter a threat, according to the Chinese government’s Xinhua news
agency report. “When you notice something suspicious, you need to check it
first, then listen, then smell, but try to avoid touching it,” Xinhua quotes the manual as saying. The manual describes thirty-nine different
potential terrorism threats, including explosions, arson, shootings, hijacking,
and even chemical, biological, or nuclear attacks.

security-obsessed government has identified a possible terrorist attack as the
biggest potential threat to the successful hosting of the games and it has
widely publicized its security preparations. “You also have to hide your
mobile phones if kidnapped by terrorists,” an excerpt of the manual says,
according to Xinhua. It was not clear how many copies of the manual would be
published or when and how it might be distributed. China, eager to use the
games to showcase its rise as a modern economic power, has said that homegrown
threats come top of security worries, including from Uighur militants
campaigning for independence for Xinjiang in China’s far northwest, and from
Tibetan independence groups. Officials said security forces had foiled five
“terrorism groups” planning to attack the Beijing Olympics, with
police detaining 82 people in Xinjiang. Human rights groups say that China is using Olympic security as an
excuse to crack down on internal dissent.