Beijing Subway Patrol Police Equipped with Guns
    2014-05-26 19:32:49     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Mao

Regular patrol officers at 5 major stations along Beijing's subway line 1 are now carrying guns.

CRI's Li Dong has more.


 

Starting this past weekend, police officers are now carrying guns as part of their regular patrols at the Xidan, Dongdan, Tiananmen East, Tiananmen West, and Wangfujing subway stops.

This is the first time regular patrol officers have been given firearms.

Their sidearm, a 9mm revolver, can shoot both real and rubber bullets.

The new show of force is drawing mixed reactions.

"It makes me feel safe to see police carry guns on patrol, whether it's on the subway, buses or trains."

"It also makes me feel a little tense seeing them carry guns on patrol. But I think its a good move, because it's going to make terrorists think twice about doing bad things."

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, conceeds that giving regular patrol officers a gun isn't likely to be that effective in stopping a terrorist.

However, he says it will help in the aftermath of an attack.

"Regular patrol officers with guns can better safeguard the capital's public safety, especially when terrorist attack takes place. Armed patrol officers will be on the scene much more quickly than special forces can be."

As of this past weekend, subway passengers also have to face security checks at three more stations, namely Bajiao Amusement Park, Tiantongyuan North and Longze.

Unlike previous security arrangements, passangers at these stations now have to go through a metal detector and be cleared by security staff before moving through.

The new security measures come as Beijing and the rest of the country grapples with more violent terrorist attacks.

Li Wei also says the public needs to be vigilant when it comes to suspicious activity.

"Terrorist attacks mostly target normal people. Raising awareness in the fight against terrorism can help public security crack down on terrorism and better protect themselves. The media also has a responsibility to help educate people about what to do in the case of an attack. Normally, a person's natural response to an attack may be to run. But in most cases it may be safer to just lie down or take cover when you hear an explosion or a gun shot."

The new security measures along Beijing's subway lines comes on the heels of last week's terrorist attack on an open-air market in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, which left 39 people dead and 94 others hurt.

The attack in Urumqi last week follows a pair of terrorist attacks on train stations Urumqi and Yunnan's capital Kunming earlier this year, and an attack at Tian'anmen Square in October.

Beijing's subway system, which carries around 10-million passangers a day, is considered a prime target for a terrorist attack.

For CRI, I am Li Dong.

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The Beijing Hour updated 20:00 2014/05/23
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