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Military bases plan to tighten security in wake of inspections

Updated: 2014-07-02 07:51
By Zhao Lei ( China Daily)

The Chinese military pledged to strengthen the management of its installations after recent inspections revealed some safety and information-security risks.

"There are about 4,800 committees under local governments and military authorities that are dedicated to protecting facilities, but only a few of them have performed their duties regularly," said Ma Yifei, a senior officer in the General Staff Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army.

The reasons include personnel shortages and frequent turnover. The committees are usually composed of officers and civil servants temporarily assigned for short-term duty.

Song Xinfei, a staff officer in Ma's bureau, which is in charge of planning and oversight of military infrastructure, said some overseas intelligence agencies' aggressive efforts have posed substantial threats to the security of PLA facilities.

Fake companies or sightseeing tours are often used as pretexts by outside entities to approach sensitive Chinese facilities for the purpose of gathering military secrets, Song said.

In addition, some local governments' pursuit of economic growth and the behavior of ordinary residents can cause trouble for the military.

An inspection report cited by PLA Daily shows that a local government near an unidentified naval base in the southern island province of Hainan repeatedly violated regulations by allowing foreign-invested villas to be built inside the base's restricted area, despite the fact that higher authorities spent money to acquire some of the villas and demolish them.

Shan Shaoli, another staff officer, said operations at half of the PLA's airbases have been disturbed by high-rise buildings irregularly constructed by local governments or developers since 1995.

"There are more than 1,000 high-rises that exceed their approved heights inside the flight-security perimeters of our airbases, leading to the closure of nearly 20 bases and about 100 accidents," he said.

To resolve the potential threats to the military facilities, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislature, passed a set of amendments to the Military Facilities Protection Law on Friday.

The revised law requires local authorities to take military facilities into account and seek input from the PLA when reviewing development projects that might affect military facilities.

zhaolei@chinadaily.com.cn

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