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Beijing beefs up security for Party Congress
AFAR
11/6/2002



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As the 16th Communist Party Congress draws near, Jiang Zemin and his colleagues have ordered tighter security in Beijing to prevent any protests from taking place. It has become typical of the Communist Party to “strike hard” against dissenting voices prior to any major government events.

The Washington Post reported that the Uigurs, a minority group in the northwestern region recently labeled a terrorist group, are now prohibited from checking into hotels in Beijing.

On the eve of this Congress, Human Rights in China reported that several pro-democracy activists have been arrested, and that about 170 dissidents released an open letter to appeal for the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

Those who walk through the infamous Tiananmen Square will be searched and monitored by plain-clothed police or security guards, sources say. Over the past three years, Tiananmen Square has been a place where adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have been often seen unfolding banners for fair treatment. Amnesty International and other rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of its followers have been sent to labor camps without trial. At least 1,000 have been detained in mental institutions. Some 500 persons died of police brutality in custody. Longtime China watchers believe that the campaign against this peaceful and apolitical group has shown just how vulnerable Jiang’s regime is. Jiang is expected to step down after this Congress though he is apparently reluctant to do so, insiders have observed.

Beijing will mobilize about 500 “Red Flag” limos, the Chinese version of the Jaguar, for transporting the Congress’ delegates. But Party leaders prefer to ride foreign imports for safety and luxury. This time, however, only provincial delegation heads will be provided with an Audi or a Honda Accord.

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