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China Launches Security Campaign for Anniversary

April 29, 2009

April 28, 2009

BEIJING -- China announced plans Tuesday to ramp
up public security ahead of the 60th anniversary
of the founding of the Communist nation, after a
similar campaign last year for the Olympic Games.

The security campaign, which starts in May, is
aimed at ensuring "a steady and harmonious social
environment" for celebrations slated for Oct. 1,
said Vice Minister of Public Security Zhang
Xinfeng, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The anniversary marks a major milestone for
China's government, which is planning large
celebrations including a grand military parade in the center of Beijing.

Police across the country will focus on
maintaining social order, cracking down on
criminal gangs, and tracking wanted criminals,
Zhang said. Robberies and theft must be curbed,
he said, as well as fraudulent "phone scams" widely reported by the public.

Local officials will also tackle criminal
activities widespread in their respective
regions, and step up security efforts, he said.

A similar security campaign was imposed ahead of
the Olympics last summer. In the months leading
up to the August games, China enacted a
wide-ranging campaign that included exhaustive
security checks at hotels and residential areas
along with visa restrictions that severely
limited the number of foreigners who could visit or work in the country.

This year also saw security clampdowns and travel
bans in Tibet and the restive Western region of
Xinjiang, which both have politically sensitive
anniversaries. In March came the 50th anniversary
of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule
as well as the one-year anniversary of violent
riots in the capital of Lhasa. In Xinjiang, a
separatist movement has taken root among ethnic
minority Uighurs who have long chafed under
Beijing's rule and restrictions on religion.

The Communist government has also urged local
officials to "carry out in-depth patriotic
educational activities" among the public centering around the anniversary.

A document drafted by the Central Committee's
publicity department said the activities are of
"of vital importance in supporting morale and
boosting confidence in overcoming difficulties," Xinhua said.

Activities "should guide people to love the
Party" and recognize the achievements made in the
past six decades, Xinhua said. The public should
be made "aware of the advantages of socialism
with Chinese characteristics" and give them a
correct understanding of China's basic conditions
at present, the document said.

China is facing a host of social and economic
challenges this year, including a global downturn
that has already resulted in the loss of jobs for
more than 20 million migrant workers in the country.
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