EXCLUSIVE: China gets U.S. Olympics help
China is setting up a citywide video surveillance system for the games, the report said, adding that every major building in Beijing has been required to install building security and alarm systems.
Critics of the security support are questioning whether it violates a 2000 law limiting U.S. military exchanges that could boost China’s military, which is playing a behind-the-scenes role in Olympics security.
Mr. Morrell said any Pentagon support will be “fully consistent” with U.S. laws. The precise Defense Department role in Olympic security is “still under discussion,” he said.
Some Pentagon officials and others who oppose the security support also said the transfers could undermine a U.S. arms embargo put in place after China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown.
“I am worried if we go too far and exceed the congressional guidelines controlling our defense exchanges with China, then … we undercut the rationale of our asking the European Union to continue to ban all defense technology and weapons exports to China,” said Michael Pillsbury, author of two National Defense University books on the Chinese military.
Beijing has lobbied the Pentagon for the embargo to be lifted, but the Pentagon continues to oppose such move and has urged Europe to maintain its own arms ban for fear that Western arms could be used against U.S. forces in any conflict over Taiwan.
T. Kumar, Amnesty International’s advocacy director for Asia, said the United States should get guarantees from China that any security assistance will not be used for repression.
“The concern we have, even before the Olympics, is how much equipment is going to be used against genuine protesters, against the Chinese themselves,” Mr. Kumar said.
He said the U.S. government must insist on receiving “very concrete” commitments from the Chinese that the security assistance will not be misused.
A Chinese Communist Party document on Olympic security that was obtained by The Times identifies the Chinese Community Party’s main security concerns regarding the games as Tibetan “separatists,” Falun Gong religious practitioners and criminals.
“Our fear is that unless these guarantees are given, [the assistance] will definitely be used against the Chinese,” Mr. Kumar said.
Chinese Embassy spokesman Wang Baodong dismissed those fears and said that because the Olympic Games are an international event, “it would only be natural for the U.S. to cooperate in the security area.”
Mr. Wang declined to discuss details about the U.S.-China security cooperation, saying those questions could only be answered by authorities in Beijing.
However China’s state-run media confirmed in May that counterterrorism is a top priority for the government. Security activities for the games include conducting surveillance, “intercepting intelligence” and “taking preemptive actions to neutralize the enemies before they can launch terror attacks,” said a China News Service report.
Other security steps will include installing nuclear, chemical, and biological sensors and monitoring equipment in stadiums and facilities, the state-run agency reported on April 24.