China steps up security at popular tourist parks


Beijing : Security at several popular tourists parks in Beijing have been stepped up, with tourists banned from taking lighters and most knives inside, media reported Wednesday.

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Guards posted at park entrances are also using hand-held metal scanners to scan visitors as well as check their bags, The Beijing News said.

The parks include the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Beijing Zoo, Yuanmingyuan, Beihai Park, and Jingshan Park.

If tourists want to take knives inside, as many Chinese tourists do to peel fruit, they must ensure the blades are no longer than eight centimeres long or the knives will be confiscated, the report cited park officials saying.

No explanation was given on why the measures are being adopted, but they come in the wake of the fatal stabbing of American tourist Todd Bachman by a 47-year-old unemployed Chinese man Tang Yongming at Beijing’s Drum Tower Saturday.

Bachman is the father-in-law of the head coach for the US men’s volleyball team. His wife was critically injured and so was a Chinese tour guide. Tang committed suicide by jumping off the tower.

The Summer Palace, a former resort for China’s emperors, began implementing the measures the day after the stabbing, according to the report. Yuanmingyuan, a Westernized resort for the emperors, meanwhile has installed more than 100 security cameras at the massive park, the report said.

Security at the Olympic Green, where many Olympic venues are located, also have been stepped up this week.

An armoured personnel carrier and heavily armed paramilitary police were seen Tuesday taking up positions on one of the main roads into the Olympic Green.

Police commandoes were also posted at the Olympic Village, where the athletes are staying during the two-week sporting extravaganza, while extra security checks were used at the Media Village.

The measures also follow the weekend bomb attacks in north-west China by ethnic Uighurs which left 10 of the assailants dead.

On Tuesday, three security guards were stabbed to death at a road checkpoint in Xinjiang, but it was not known if the attack was linked to earlier violence in the region.