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Xinjiang installs body scanners at checkpoints

(Global Times)    10:51, September 27, 2017

New scanner avoids physical contact between police and travelers

A picture of the body security scanner installed in Tumxuk, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo: Zhao Yusha/GT

Xinjiang will use a new high-tech body security scanner for road security checks, a move to enhance counter-terrorism work before the forthcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

A division from the People's Liberation Army in Tumxuk, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, recently introduced 10 units of terahertz security scanners, which were installed at road security checkpoints.

"It took these scanners only 10 seconds to scan one person, while the traditional hand-held scanner takes almost 50 seconds to complete the task," Xu Yongsheng, vice head of a road security check station, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Once the person steps into the body scanner, he or she is required to turn around, and an alarm will go off if the scanner detects metal or explosive objects.

Xu said the new scanner protects the police as they do not need to have physical contact with those being examined.

"We used to get into conflict with people when we examined them with hand-held scanners, especially women," Xu noted.

A local Uyghur named Rozi, who had to undergo the scanner several times when passing through the station, said the new scanner is more convenient as it saves him time and protects his privacy.

Xu noted many people are concerned about the possible health risks the machine might pose.

"The human body naturally transmits terahertz waves, which can be received by the terahertz body scanner. So unlike traditional X-rays, it has no harmful effects," Li Gang, president of Beijing Aerospace Yilian Science & Technology Development Company, the manufacturer of the scanner, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Major battlefields

Li said the Xinjiang military contacted him in February about introducing the machines "to meet the counter-terrorism demands in Xinjiang."

Tumxuk and Kashgar are the gateways and major battlefields for Xinjiang's security work. The two cities are inhabited by many ethnic minority groups which move freely in large numbers every day, Qin Wenrong, a Xinjiang military officer, told the Global Times.

Qin said that the Tumxuk government has invested heavily in these scanners to enhance their counter-terrorism work ahead of the upcoming 19th National Congress of the CPC, which will convene in Beijing on October 18.

Qin said all 35 security checkpoints in Tumxuk will be equipped with the scanners in the future.

Meng Jianzhu, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, called for the use of new technologies to fight terrorism during his inspection in Xinjiang in August.

Apart from body scanners, Qin said that the Tumxuk government conducted massive security checks throughout the city a few days ago and urged government officials to pay attention to suspicious signs, such as a sudden increase of strangers in homes.

Xinjiang has witnessed sporadic violent incidents.

In February, three knife-wielding attackers killed five and injured another five in Pishan county, Hotan prefecture, the Hotan government said on its website. Tumxuk is around 600 kilometers north of Hotan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: 陈隽, Bianji)

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