China Boosts Olympic Security With 80 Leaders To Attend Opening Ceremony

BEIJING – China vowed Sunday to step up security for the Beijing Olympics, warning of an unprecedented terrorist threat with up to 80 heads of state expected to attend the opening ceremony.

Rioting and looting in Tibet this year and recent armed battles between police and “terrorist groups” in the western-most Xinjiang region were evidence of real threats to sabotage the Games, the leading People’s Daily said in an editorial.

“As far as China is concerned, the international situation and the political environment is becoming increasingly complicated by the day and the dark clouds of terrorism on our borders is a fact that cannot be ignored,” it said.

“Up until the present, we know there will be 80 heads of state attending the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, as the host nation we are faced with unprecedented pressure and a huge responsibility.”

The commentary defended massive security efforts that have resulted in a missile battery being placed outside the main Olympic Stadium and a raft of new regulations controlling the movement of people and goods.

It also derided Western press reports that have criticised stringent security measures they said would result in a “cold and cheerless Olympics.”

“These incidents (in Tibet and Xinjiang) show… that the Beijing Olympics is facing a terrorist threat unsurpassed in Olympic history,” the commentary
said.

“Especially as the peaceful protests of anti-China forces like those linked to ‘democracy movements’ outside the nation become violent attacks by Tibetan and Xinjiang separatists.” – AFP/vm

Channel News Asia

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