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Beijing tightens security as Games approach

The reports came a day after a top Olympic security official was quoted saying the nation's military would be involved in efforts to guard against terror attacks or other disruptions to the Games.

world Updated: May 09, 2008 11:21 IST

Beijing is implementing a range of new security measures in its transportation systems, state media reported on Friday, as the city tightened up against perceived threats to the August Olympics.

The reports came a day after a top Olympic security official was quoted saying the nation's military would be involved in efforts to guard against terror attacks or other disruptions to the Games.

Police have begun random night checks of motorists' documents in some parts of the capital and inspections of subway and bus passengers for flammable liquids, reports in the Beijing Youth Daily and Beijing News said.

They did not specifically link the measures to the August 8-24 Olympics.

Earlier this week, three people died when a bus in Shanghai burst into flames. Police have blamed the incident on flammable liquids being brought aboard the vehicle.

No other details have been given, but China has lately been emphasising a possible terror threat to the Olympics, which dissidents have dismissed as an excuse to crack down.

"From the standpoint of Beijing Olympic security, the main danger is a terrorist attack from three possible threats: East Turkestan terrorists, Tibetan separatists and the evil Falungong cult," Olympic security official Tian Yixiang was quoted saying on Thursday by Internet media.

Tian also said the armed forces would be involved in anti-terror efforts, while giving no specifics.

"East Turkestan" is the name many Muslim ethnic Uighur residents of the western Xinjiang region use for their homeland.
Over the past two months China has announced breaking up four separate "terrorist" cells from Xinjiang, two of which were specifically planning attacks aimed at the Olympics, it said.

However, some observers have questioned the claims, with exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer saying China fabricated them to justify a crackdown on the Uighurs, a central Asian people who have long chafed under Chinese control.

Chinese officials also had previously spoken of threats from Tibetan forces angered by China's crackdown on unrest in the Himalayan region and from Falungong, a spiritual sect suppressed by Beijing.

China has already tightened up airline security after claiming that a hijack attempt by a Uighur "terrorist" had been foiled in March.