Shanghai 300,000 ‘Citizen Volunteers’ Bolster Xi Security Forum

Shanghai is boosting armed police patrols, closing government offices and cordoning off parts of the Lujiazui financial district as the nation’s commercial hub tightens security before an Asian security summit next week.

More than 300,000 “citizen volunteers” have been mobilized to assist police during the May 20-21 Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, the Shanghai Daily reported yesterday. Authorities have also ordered schools to be shut on May 21, when President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meet. China’s deputy foreign minister said on May 15 they will make a “very substantial political statement,” without giving details.

China is beefing up security measures in its major cities including adding armed SWAT officers to subway patrols after three violent attacks at railway stations this year. Government agencies and police have become the main targets of terror attacks, according to the country’s first bluebook on national security published this week.

“I’ve noticed increased security,” said Liao Yan, 26, as she passed out leaflets for an English-language school in front of the Jinmao tower in Lujiazui. “I’m fully in support of the increased security measures. We are all Chinese after all.”

Shanghai’s two airports are imposing extra security measures with inspections for explosive devices, the city’s airport authority said.

The top official in charge of security said this month the nation will start a special campaign against terrorism. Terror activities are expanding to more regions and most of the attacks in 2013 were due to religious extremists, the bluebook said.

Traffic Restrictions

Three people were killed and 79 hurt when assailants slashed travelers at the train station in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, on April 30, the same day that Xi was wrapping up a visit to the area. Xinjiang separatists killed 29 people in a knife attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming in March.

The security summit will be attended by at least 11 heads of state from Asia and the Middle East, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, according to the Shanghai government’s website.

Shanghai will impose road, rail and ferry restrictions in the Lujiazui and People’s Square areas from May 19 to 21, including forbidding cars from entering tunnels during rush hours and closing some subway exits, according to a statement on the city’s police bureau website and the Shanghai Daily. The Shanghai Stock Exchange is scheduled to be open on May 21.

Office workers in the Lujiazui financial area were asked to use public transport instead of cars because of traffic congestion and limited parking places, according to a circular issued by the Lujiazui police station.

Vivian Zhang, 30, who works for a fund management firm in Lujiazui, said she won’t go to the nearby shopping mall for lunch this coming week as the route may be off-limits.

“I’ll get food downstairs instead,” she said. “Except that we’ll actively co-operate, what else can we do? It won’t be a big disruption to me as the railway station is still open after all.”

— With assistance by Shidong Zhang

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.