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China Braces for Travel Rush with Tightened Security Checks
China is bracing itself for the world's largest travel rush two weeks before the Chinese lunar new year of 2010.
Police have tightened security checks at railway stations with support from most travelers. But some of them have complained about the inconvenience caused by additional security precautions.
Damin finds out more.
Tens of thousands of passengers have flooded into the Beijing West Railway Station, kicking off their home-bound journeys.
Guo Yanhong, one traveler, has just found a seat in the waiting hall after a series of security checks.
"What is different from normal times is that police staff have been dispatched to check our tickets even steps away from the entrance of the building. After that, all the bags and luggage had to be scanned. I think these measures are good for the sake of passengers' security."
The Ministry of Public Security has released a notice, calling for tightened security checks at railway stations.
Some passengers say they have encountered inconvenience as a result of the additional security measures.
"It's a little inconvenient. It's crowded and I have many belongings to undergo scanning. I spent at least 20 minutes when moving from the entrance to this waiting hall. I hope the authorities can find a way to reduce the inconvenience."
But Wang Hongwei, a public security expert with Renmin University, says it's very necessary to impose strict security measures.
"Last November's train accident in Russia and the failed Christmas attack on a US airliner send us a warning. That is we have to be vigilant and come up with enhanced security measures during the nation-wide travel rush. I think it's reasonable and acceptable to restrict some personal freedoms when maintaining public security becomes the priority."
A Russian express train derailed in November last year, killing some 40 people and injured more than 100. Investigators have blamed the disaster on terrorist bombings.
On the Christmas Day, a Nigerian man attempted to set off an explosive device on a Detroit-bound flight and failed.
Following the incident, the United States tightened security checks and adopted full body-scan at all its airports.
China's upcoming travel rush will officially start from Saturday and last for 40-days. The travel peak comes every year when people are visiting relatives for the traditional Spring Festival holiday and then return to their workplaces.
Authorities forecast that travelers will make more than 200 million trips by rail over the holiday period, a rise of 9.5 percent from last year.