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Firms eye 2008 Olympic security budget
By Lei Lei, Raymond Zhou and Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-10 22:08

Beijing's security budget for the 2008 Olympic Games has been outlined -- and is likely to top the 1 billion-plus US dollars spent in Athens.

Officials from the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communist Party of China refused to reveal the full amount to counter terrorism and make the games secure.

But general consensus among Olympic-watchers is that nothing will be left to chance by the Chinese Government and the figure will top US$1.3 billion allocated by Greek officials last summer at the 2004 Games.

"We have figured out the security budget for the 2008 Olympics, but it is subject to the government's approval," said Qiang Wei, deputy Party secretary of Beijing.

Qiang briefed reporters during the International Permanent Observatory on Security Measures During Major Events (IPO), where the closed-door budgetary meeting took place in the Chinese capital yesterday.

Qiang is also head of the Beijing Olympic Security Co-ordination Group and said the total will be unveiled "in a very short time."

Twenty-four foreign security experts from 10 countries and four international organizations, including the United Nations Inter Regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Police Office (EUROPOL), attended the IPO to share their experience of making security plans for such large events. These include previous Olympic Games, the 2004 European Football Cup and the 2003 Evian G8 Summit.

Set up by UNICRI and EUROPOL in February 2003, IPO aims to enhance the level of security during major events by promoting the identification of the best practices in the field.

It also seeks to strengthen international co-operation and facilitate the exchange of information among international agencies, international entities and experts that are well versed in security.

If requested, the IPO can provide technical assistance to those countries where a major event is to take place.

As the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, the biggest sports event in the world, Beijing finds it necessary to learn more international successful security stories in some special occasions, such as the venue access, the transport security and bombs/explosive ordnance, said Qiang.

He added: "It is important for us to open for more experience while organizing the Olympic security plan.

"Through the speeches of foreign experts, we will be sure to learn valuable information."

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