© Provided by South China Morning Post
Security measures have been significantly increased in Beijing in preparation for the Belt and Road forum, which marks the 10-year anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This initiative, a flagship multinational investment project led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to promote global connectivity and economic development.
In Beijing’s embassy area, Liangmaqiao, a heavy police presence can be observed, with police vehicles on most blocks, community safety volunteers, and security guards stationed at nearly every crossing and footbridge in the vicinity. This heightened security is in response to a recent knife attack on an Israeli embassy employee in the city.
Days before the forum, police issued a notice in Beijing, prohibiting the use of civilian drones in the city. Commuters from the surrounding province of Hebei faced longer waits at checkpoints when traveling to and from the capital. Buses in the nearby town of Yanjiao were stopped, and passengers were required to show their ID before proceeding.
The security measures were most pronounced around the China National Convention Centre, the event’s venue. Roads around the centre were closed, subway exits sealed off, and the public was barred from entering the area. Police vehicles and security personnel from various agencies were stationed around the convention centre, including the People’s Armed Police, traffic police, regular police, urban management officers, and community safety volunteers.
The security efforts extended to the city’s main traffic arteries and footbridges, guarded by armed police. Beijing is known for increasing security before significant events or political gatherings, despite having generally low levels of violent crime.
The Belt and Road forum is the first such gathering in four years and occurs amid heightened international tensions, including the Israel-Hamas conflict and the ongoing rivalry between China and the United States. It serves as a platform for discussions on global infrastructure and economic development, with participating nations looking to strengthen cooperation.
As the forum commences, security remains a top priority in Beijing, ensuring the safety and success of this significant international event.