Security officers in orange protective suits investigate a simulated chemical explosion during an Olympic security drill outside the beach volleyball venue in the Chaoyang Park in Beijing on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. China launched a series of anti-terrorist drills at the national level on Wednesday to cope with threats to the upcoming Beijing Olympics. [Xinhua]
China launched a series of anti-terrorist drills at the national level on Wednesday to ensure security for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu announced the commencement of the drills, dubbed "Great Wall 5," at the national anti-terrorist command center.
The drills will include missions to deal with a chemical attack, hijacking athletes' buses and other possible contingencies.
The first drill was at the Chaoyang Park for Olympic Beach Volleyball venue Wednesday afternoon as firemen, police and other security personnel evacuated spectators and dealt with an imaginary chemical blast.
Within eight minutes, more than 400 spectators were evacuated to safe locations and dangerous chemicals were contained. Professional forces cleaned up the chemicals in less than one hour, making the drill a success.
According to the ministry, the week-long drills will involve police forces, the People's Armed Police, the People's Liberation Army and the health, environmental protection, meteorology and transportation departments.
The exercises will simulate real situations as much as possible in terms of process, location, timing and equipment, it said.
The exercises are expected to improve cooperation between the Olympics' security system and the anti-terror system during the games as well as the command efficiency of the center.
"The forces prepared to deal with terrorist attacks during the Olympics comprise three parts," an official in charge of the direction of the drill said. "Security guard in the venues, security forces of the capital and national professional emergency forces.
"The organizer will evaluate any breaking event and use the forces in accordance with its grade," the official said, adding that aircraft hijacking and subway attacks had also been taken into consideration.
The drills will test the sensitivity of the guards in the Olympic venues and the abilities of the anti-terror forces at all levels and the command center to respond to the emergency in a critical time, he said.
Special police forces have held numerous drills to cope with possible mass incidents and emergencies since last year. The drills that started on Wednesday will be the final round of practice before the Games begin in August.