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Schools get tighter security


12:54 pm
May 5, 2010



posts 215

The tightened
security measures follow a series of violent attacks against school or
kindergarten children in recent weeks.

In Southwest China's Chongqing municipality,
the local public security bureau set up police teams at all
kindergartens, primary and middle schools, local media reported on

Police were told that they could "shoot on
site" any suspect who is violently offending or hurting students on
campus or in surrounding areas, the Chongqing Evening News reported.
People who live near schools or who have
possible mental problems will be better monitored. Those who are
discontent with society and have threatened to retaliate will also be
closely watched, the report said.

Similar measures were being taken nationwide
on Tuesday.

In Guangzhou, capital city of South China's
Guangdong province, at least one police car will be sent daily patrol to
every school in downtown Yuexiu district, Guangzhou Daily reported on

The city authorities ordered schools to
check and register every visitor, prohibiting unauthorized people from
entering the campus, and preventing knives or flammable, explosive and
toxic materials from being carried into schools.

"The security measures are necessary, but I
don't know whether they're effective enough to protect children from
being hurt," said local resident Chen Lihua, 32, outside the Zhuwei
Primary School in Guangzhou.

"Authorities should take more action to deal
with social problems, such as the disparity between the rich and the
poor, which might be the root of these violent cases against children,"
she said.

Schools in other provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities including Beijing, Ningxia, Liaoning, Anhui
and Jiangsu have also been ordered to employ full-time security staff,
prevent unauthorized visitors from entering schools, draft emergency
evacuation plans and install surveillance cameras.

In Beijing, police cars flashed lights
outside some schools as guards in orange vests watched students enter
the gates on Tuesday morning.

"Our main objective is to take safety
precautions," said Zhang Xinxiong, a teacher in charge of security.
"These days every family has only one child, so of course they are

"I was a little worried after seeing those
reports on TV about the attacks," said Liu Xingwu, who sent his
7-year-old granddaughter by bicycle to the Shijia Elementary School in
central Beijing. "The security measures are good. But we've also told
her to be careful… If there are any problems, call the police."

Another parent thought the beefed-up
security measures are somewhat extreme. "Those attacks were just
individual situations," said Li Bin, 37, a company manager. "There
shouldn't be so many guards at the school. It makes the school
environment too tense and it may scare the children."

Campus security measures are being stepped
up in the wake of a string of violent attacks that took lace at schools
or kindergartens since March 23, which killed at least eight children
and injured 58 others.

The latest attack occurred on Friday, when a
farmer used a motorcycle to break down the gate of a primary school in
Weifang, Shandong province, and injured five students with a hammer. He
then poured gasoline over his body and burned himself to death.

The most deadly attack occurred on March 23,
in Nanping of East China's Fujian province, in which a former doctor,
Zheng Minsheng, brandished a knife at the entrance of a local
elementary, stabbed eight children to death and injured another five.
Zheng was executed on April 28.

The Ministry of Public Security issued an
emergency circular over the weekend, saying all necessary measures
should be taken against attackers who prey on children.

On Monday, Zhou Yongkang, a member of the
standing committee of the political bureau of the Communist Party of
China Central Committee, said ensuring security at schools and
kindergartens is a "major political task".

He called for special care for "people in
difficult situations" and urged local governments to prevent any extreme
issues caused by exacerbated contradictions.

AP contributed to this story.


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