April 14, 2015 / 3:33 AM / 3 years ago

China to strengthen surveillance, security in anti-terror push

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will establish a national population database linked to ID information and credit records, state media reported late on Monday, as part of a larger push to beef up surveillance and security in response to violent unrest.

Police take part in an anti-terrorism exercise in Shanghai August 21, 2014. Picture taken August 21, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

China has already taken a series of measures to prevent attacks by extremists, including plans for an anti-terrorism law that would give the government broader surveillance powers and offering to pay for tips about violent plots.

The latest steps also include assigning more security forces to public transport, including buses, trains and subways, as well as to schools, financial institutions and hospitals, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement issued by the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council, China’s cabinet.

In addition, China will require identification when registering at hotels, for trade of second-hand goods, for motor refitting and for “recreation services”, Xinhua said, without specifying the type of recreation.

The measures will help “prevent violence, terrorist attacks or extreme events”, the report said.

The statement calls for a “security network that covers all grassroots communities”, using more surveillance cameras.

China was rocked last year by a string of knife and bomb attacks that it has blamed on separatists from the western region of Xinjiang, which has been plagued by unrest.

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people, who have chafed under growing restrictions from China, including on their religion, language and culture. Rights activists have criticized the government, saying the crackdown only serves to exacerbate tensions and breed extremism.

Hundreds of people have been killed in resource-rich Xinjiang, strategically located on the borders of central Asia, in violence in the past two years between Uighurs and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

China has also tightened security at hospitals and other health facilities after a spate of violence against doctors and nurses.

Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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