China Beefs Up Its Security Before Communist Party Congress

China is tightening security before the Nov. 8 Communist Party Congress that will see more than 2,000 delegates gather in Beijing to formally anoint the country’s next generation of leaders.

Since August, Beijing has cracked down on unlicensed taxis, gambling, prostitution and bicycle theft, the China Daily newspaper reported yesterday, quoting Beijing deputy party chief Ji Lin. City police are also monitoring migrant workers more closely, the official Legal Daily reported Oct. 19.

The congress, which is expected to run for at least a week, is forecast to name Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping general secretary of the 82-million-member party, clearing the way for him to take over from Hu Jintao as president next year. On Oct. 19, Politburo member Zhou Yongkang urged authorities around the country to safeguard the congress’s security, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“We must soberly realize that various factors exist which can lead to disharmony, insecurity and instability, bringing many risks and challenges for the security work of the Party congress,” Zhou said, according to Xinhua.

The central province of Hubei ordered its 60,000 police to cancel holidays from Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 to “fight a tough war” ahead the party congress, the provincial police authority said in an Oct. 19 statement on its website.

Tighter security won’t hinder the lives of Beijing residents, China Daily said. It quoted Ji as saying that security agencies should take people’s “feelings and opinions into consideration when they carry out their duties.”

The congress “is a very important conference to be held at a critical time when China is building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way,” Xinhua said today, citing a statement from a meeting by the Politburo.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xin Zhou in Beijing at xzhou68@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Brinsley at jbrinsley@bloomberg.net

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