G20 Sum­mit needs tighter se­cu­rity, pe­riod!

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS - The au­thor is a writer with China Daily. cuishoufeng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Big events, no mat­ter where they are held, al­ways draw at­ten­tion, and crit­i­cism. The up­com­ing G20 sum­mit in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, is no ex­cep­tion. Spec­u­la­tions have been rife over the mega-diplo­matic event— from the cost of host­ing the sum­mit to the strength­en­ing of se­cu­rity mea­sures.

TheHangzhou lo­cal govern­ment has vowed to host the big event at the low­est pos­si­ble cost. True to its prom­ise, it has not even built a new­con­fer­ence hall. In­stead, it has just up­graded and ren­o­vated ex­ist­ing build­ings to show­case Chi­nese ar­chi­tec­ture.

Spec­u­la­tions on the strength­en­ing of se­cu­rity in the city, how­ever, are un­called for, be­cause cities across the globe that play hosts to im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional events have to beef up se­cu­rity, es­pe­cially be­cause of the grow­ing risk of ter­ror­ist at­tacks. And as the host coun­try, China can­not take any chances with the se­cu­rity of the del­e­gates to the sum­mit that will com­prise 20 heads of state or govern­ment.

De­spite not be­ing a vic­tim of the on­go­ing refugee cri­sis plagu­ing Euro­pean coun­tries and thus fear­ing ter­ror­ists would en­ter the coun­try in the garb of refugees, China can­not let its guard down. Dur­ing last year’s G20 Sum­mit in An­talya, Turkey, at least 12,000 po­lice of­fi­cers and a sle­wof army check­points were put into ser­vice.

The 2014 sum­mit in Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, sawthe de­ploy­ment of 6,000 po­lice of­fi­cers and 1,900 troops, es­tab­lish­ment of a no-fly zone in a wide area over the con­ven­tion cen­ter, and en­force­ment of spe­cial rules that gave more power to po­lice of­fi­cers and pre­vented peo­ple from en­ter­ing cer­tain ar­eas with items such as eggs and surf­boards.

High-pro­file in­ter­na­tional meet­ings like the G20 Sum­mit can be an easy tar­get of un­ruly pro­test­ers, even ter­ror­ists. Aus­tralia and Turkey learned a les­son from the clashes that erupted at pre­vi­ous G20 meet­ings and beefed up their se­cu­rity. In par­tic­u­lar, the one in Toronto, Canada, six years ago sawthe ar­rests of more than 1,100 pro­test­ers within a week amid re­ports of po­lice bru­tal­ity.

En­hanced se­cu­rity mea­sures may be caus­ing some in­con­ve­nience toHangzhou res­i­dents, es­pe­cially to daily com­muters, and in­creas­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of traf­fic jams and longer queues in met­ros. Com­plaints have also been made against more fre­quent checks on iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards, which some lo­cal res­i­dents do not usually carry.

Some peo­ple’s frus­tra­tion is un­der­stand­able, but tight­en­ing se­cu­rity be­fore and dur­ing ma­jor events is an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity in these times of ter­ror­ism fears.

Host­ing a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional event comes with a cost. How­ever, for the host city and coun­try, it can boost their im­ages and the econ­omy. That ex­plains why Aus­tralia spent about 100 mil­lion Aus­tralian dol­lars ($87 mil­lion) on se­cu­rity alone dur­ing the Bris­bane sum­mit.

Be­sides, host­ing a suc­cess­ful G20 sum­mit can help China en­hance its soft power and en­able it to play a big­ger role in global gov­er­nance. In a re­cent sur­vey con­ducted by the Zhe­jiangUniver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy on how Hangzhou res­i­dents see the G20 Sum­mit, more than 97 per­cent of the re­spon­dents said they take great pride in it and most of them promised to im­prove their civic be­hav­ior ahead of the sum­mit.

Hangzhou res­i­dents’ support and en­thu­si­asm should be taken se­ri­ously but not for granted. Still, theHangzhou au­thor­i­ties are obliged to en­sure the se­cu­rity mea­sures cause min­i­mum in­con­ve­nience to lo­cal res­i­dents. In this con­text, invit­ing more lo­cals to par­tic­i­pate in the prepa­ra­tions and of­fer sug­ges­tions would be a worth­while ef­fort.

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