Security beefed up nationwide in China after railway attacks

Security beefed up nationwide in China after railway attacks
A policeman stands guard at a railway station after a knife attack in Guangzhou, Guangdong province May 6, 2014.

Experts said on Wednesday that residents' anxieties about terrorism can be reduced by strengthening security in crowded places, but the key is persistence.

Armed police patrols were enhanced nationwide after a violent incident on Tuesday, when six people were injured in a knife attack in Guangzhou Railway Station. It was the third attack targeting civilians at a railway station in just two months.

The Ministry of Public Security ordered extra patrols to begin on Tuesday night, with an increase in the number of officers and a requirement that security devices - video surveillance equipment, scanners and the like - be checked to ensure everything is in good working order.

Li Juan, a professor of public security and an anti-terrorism expert, said that such inspections and patrols must be regular and permanent features of public safety, not merely a short-term campaign, though the immediate guidance by high-level officials was good.

"Tougher security inspections in crowded regions, especially railway stations and airports, should be emphasised frequently to avoid some police officers' slacking off," said Li, who is also vice-president of Xinjiang Police College.

On Tuesday night, Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun inspected the railway station in Changsha, Hunan province, and ordered the police to tackle security work in a more structured way.

Vice-ministers Fu Zhenghua and Liu Yanping visited railway stations in Beijing and Shanghai in one night for inspections, asking police officers to boost their public-security awareness.

Fu said that when deadly force is required, the police should eliminate the threat with one shot. He urged officers to react fast and take the initiative in emergencies.

Liu urged officers in densely populated spaces, such as railway and subway stations, to enhance their inspections to provide a better firewall against terrorists.

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