To ensure that the 18th Party Congress runs harmoniously, authorities have recruited an army of 1.4 million volunteers, further disrupted internet access, placed restrictions on fruit knives, taxi windows, ping pong balls, pigeons and remote controlled toys, and deployed teams of orange-clad firefighters in Tiananmen Square to guard against self-immolators. In addition, security forces have moved to keep Beijing free from those seen as likely troublemakers. From Tom Lasseter at McClatchy:
A story Monday by the Xinhua news wire reported that a senior security official had recently been “inspecting a security ‘moat’ project created in areas encircling Beijing for the congress’ smooth holding.” There was apparently no water involved, just a lot of police.
The story quoted Zhou Yongkang, a standing committee member who oversees domestic security, as urging authorities in Beijing and surrounding regions to form a “solid defense . . . thus creating a safe, orderly, auspicious and peaceful environment for the successful holding of the 18th National Congress.”
Amnesty International released a statement last week that gave an idea of what that might mean: More than 100 activists have been rounded up so far.
“The police have placed dozens of activists under house arrest, forcibly removed individuals from Beijing and have closed down the offices of community groups in attempts to suppress peaceful dissent,” the group said. “Scores of activists are believed to be held in ‘black jails’ across the country. . . . Hotels, hostels, basements of buildings and farm centers have all been reportedly used as black jails.”
A major thrust of the campaign has been to block petitioners from reaching the capital. The Telegraph’s Tom Phillips visited Lü Number 3 Team Village on the outskirts of Beijing:
Lu is home to around 700 permanent residents, many of whom supplement their incomes by renting shoddily...
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