Saturday, May 17, 2014

Anti-terror response drills held across China

Faced with a rise in terror activity, a number of province-level regions in China, including Xinjiang, Beijing, Guangdong and Yunnan, have carried out anti-terror drills since March.

The Beijing municipal government recently conducted two major anti-terror drills in the space of one week.

The drills mostly took place at crowded public facilities where terror attacks have or could potentially take place, notably train stations, subway stations and airports. Some regions carried out drills at kindergartens or hospitals, which are seen as easy targets for terrorists.

Those taking part in the drills are mostly special police forces and armed police officers. A recent drill in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang included the military, including scouts, armored troops, artillery, army aviation units and special forces. Drills in Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Heilongjiang included the deployment of frontier defense troops.

The drills targeted various forms of terror activities, including knife attacks and hostage taking. They had different scenarios, such as an indiscriminate attack at a bus station in Tibet and a train station in Guangdong, a bomb threat in the lobby of a marina in Shandong, and the hijacking of a fleet of trucks transporting hazardous goods in Shanghai.

The drills involved the use of cutting-edge anti-terror gears, including helicopters in Beijing, drones in Hainan and Harbin, flamethrowers in Zhejiang, guns capable of firing with a curved trajectory in Guiyang, and anti-mob gear in Chengdu.

The move comes amid a wave of terror attacks in different cities which have been mostly blamed on separatists belonging to the Uyghur ethnic minority who oppose Chinese rule in their home region of Xinjiang.

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