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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Spotlight on Shanghai security
Soldier guarding the venue
Shanghai does not want to take chances
By the BBC's Holly Williams in Shanghai

Standing behind his x-ray machine in a well-pressed navy blue uniform, Shanghai policeman, Cai Bin, is on the lookout for terrorists.

"If someone suspicious comes along, we'll be more careful," he says. "But we haven't had anyone like that yet - and of course, we're careful with everyone."

The 28-year-old policeman is one of 10,000 security personnel patrolling Shanghai during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.


To ensure that President Bush and the other 20 national leaders stay safe, the city centre has been virtually shut down

The US-led war on terror will be a key issue at the annual meeting, especially with President George W Bush due to attend.

Police officer Cai has been moved temporarily from his usual beat to an x-ray scanning machine in front of the International Media Centre in Shanghai's Oriental TV Tower. He and his colleagues have been training for this event "for a long time," he says.

"But I can't tell you how long," he says. "That's a secret".

"We'll have no problem spotting terrorist weapons", says Cai confidently, scanning his computer screen.

But he is less sure about what a terrorist's weapon might be.

"A gun or bomb?" he says, uncertainly.

Facelift

Shanghai authorities have their fingers crossed that Cai will never find out. They have spent $45m on renovating the city, and plan to use the Apec summit as a showcase.

Police officer
Streets are practically deserted
Leaders' meetings will be interspersed with firework displays, and riverside walks in the city's neon-lit business district. Photo opportunities have been planned strategically to show off Shanghai's glitzy new skyline.

To ensure that President Bush and the other 20 national leaders stay safe, the city centre has been virtually shut down. Businesses and schools are on holiday, streets are blocked off, and restaurants and pubs must close their doors by 11pm.

The government has also sent out a directive to all travel agents, banning them from selling plane tickets to citizens of at least 12 countries in the Middle East.

But Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuandi says he does not think China is a target for international terrorists.

"Although you are all staying in high-rise hotels in the city, don't worry," he told foreign journalists at a briefing yesterday.

Mayor Xu has no plans to move out of his own high-rise office suite.

Police officer Cai agrees with the sentiment.

"We're really just here for a one in 10,000 chance," he says. "After all, things are so perfect here - who would want to ruin it?"

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