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Air police to patrol China's skies

China is introducing a range of security measures in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the U.S.  

(CNN) -- Chinese aviation authorities are setting up a special police force of about 2,000 officers to maintain safety on civilian aircraft.

The China-run Hong Kong daily, Wen Wei Po, reported on Monday that Beijing's civil aviation authorities were thinking of setting up a so-called "Leading Group to Counter Hijacking."

Officers from the civil aviation security force, who will be stationed on board aircraft, include decommissioned soldiers with special expertise in fighting hijackers.

The security force will be attached to the public security branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Meanwhile, Chinese postal, customs and quarantine authorities have been put on alert to guard against the dangers of anthrax and other bio-chemical toxins.

Post offices nationwide as well as major government, military and corporate offices have been instructed to take extra precautions in handling suspicious parcels and letters.

Couriers and special-delivery items, formerly not subject to postal inspection, will now be checked or at least spot-checked.


Tight security has been deployed ahead of the upcoming APEC meeting in Shanghai  

State media on Monday reported that no cases of anthrax and other bio-chemical toxins had been discovered.

Sources in Beijing said immediately after the first anthrax cases were reported in Florida, state security departments did an assessment of the country's vulnerability to bio-chemical attacks from terrorists.

Checks were also made on whether hospitals and other facilities had the resources to deal with such attacks.

However, to avoid panic among the public, state media have been asked not to play up the anthrax scare in the U.S. and Europe.

Wen Wei Po reported Monday that Chinese customs and border controls had been tightened after the anthrax attacks.

Border controls

The paper said that to seal off the threat from anthrax attack, the state has boosted customs and border controls, especially "controls over people from relevant countries entering the country."

At the same time, Shanghai officials have assured foreign dignitaries and businessmen taking part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting that the highest safety standards are being enforced.

At least 10,000 police and other security personnel have been deployed in the city.

Shanghai papers quoted mayor Xu Kuangdi as reassuring visitors that it was perfectly safe to stay in skyscrapers.

"My own office is in a skyscraper," Xu said. "Everybody should feel at ease staying and working in tall buildings in Shanghai."


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