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Beijing trains to fight terrorism with cameras

2014-11-24 08:56 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Trains managed by the Beijing Railway Bureau will be equipped with surveillance cameras in all train carriages to help fight terrorism.

Each end of every carriage has been equipped with one camera able to record consecutively for 30 to 60 hours, according to the Beijing Railway Bureau.

"We just installed them very recently. This is the first time that trains [managed by the Beijing Railway Bureau] have had surveillance cameras installed," a publicity department director with the Beijing Railway Bureau surnamed Sun told the Global Times.

The cameras were installed to help guarantee the safety of passengers in emergencies, such as possible terrorist activities, he said.

The cameras begin recording in the minute after the train departs. As of yet there is no room in the trains from which the cameras can be monitored live. The recordings are removed and safeguarded by train conductors after the train arrives at its destination, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The cameras currently have been installed mainly on high-speed trains. They will soon be installed on all trains managed by the bureau, Sun said.

The Beijing Railway Bureau currently manages over 6,000 kilometers of railway lines, including Beijing-Harbin, Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-Shanghai and other major domestic railway lines.

After some passengers expressed concern that the cameras might invade their privacy, especially in sleeper compartments, the Bureau said that cameras will not be installed inside sleeper compartments, according to the Beijing Youth Daily.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the surveillance cameras could help security officers spot suspicious behaviors, thus helping them prevent potential terrorist attacks.

"China's railway system, with its large passenger volumes, could easily be targeted by terrorists. Installing cameras is a meaningful [step] where the safety of the passengers is concerned," Li told the Global Times.

During the 2014 Spring Festival travel peak, about 1 million passengers took trains every day, chinanews.com reported.

Though there were no public reports of terrorist activities on trains in China at that time, terrorist attacks have previously taken place in Chinese railway stations.

Three men involved in a terrorist attack that killed 31 people in Kunming railway station in Yunnan Province earlier this year were sentenced to the death penalty, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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