A Struggle Between Security and Civil Rights at Beijing's Olympics

Security is a major concern during large public events like the Olympics. The Chinese government is making preparations for a safe event, but could they go too far?

August 11, 2008, 7:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg


"Several events in China have raised concerns about public safety during the Games. Chinese officials, anxious to ensure the Olympics would be safe in the city of 17 million, have thrown down a smothering blanket of security."

"On Aug. 4, 2008, a vehicle rammed into a Chinese police station in western China, and attackers threw grenades, killing 32 people – the deadliest attack on security forces in recent times. Chinese counterterrorism experts claim that the country tracks a number of terrorist groups, from Muslim separatists, Al Qaeda, and Falun Gong to ethnic Chinese."

"'From a safety and security perspective, the Beijing Olympics are the third major Olympic event to occur outside the United States since 9/11. At the previous two events in Athens and Turin, a security and crisis response operations center was centrally located at the Games, clear event planning and crisis response roles and responsibilities for participating agencies were spelled out beforehand, and planning for Olympic-related security expenditures was accomplished early,' says security consultant Richard P. Grassie, CPP, President, Techmark Security Integration Inc., Rockland, MA."

"It's a fine line between balancing public safety and security to protect citizens from terrorism, and respecting civil liberties in a free society."

"China's installation of thousands of surveillance cameras on lampposts and in Beijing Internet cafés and bars may have another intent: to track dissidents who oppose the current one-party rule. The most extensive and sophisticated Western video monitoring will remain in place after the Olympics are over. Other video-monitoring systems are being installed in China's 600 largest cities."

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Thursday, August 7, 2008 in Buildings Magazine

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