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In this Friday, May 23, 2014 file photo, paramilitary policemen with shields and batons patrol near the People's Square in Urumqi, China's northwestern region of Xinjiang.
In this Friday, May 23, 2014 file photo, paramilitary policemen with shields and batons patrol near the People's Square in Urumqi, China's northwestern region of Xinjiang.
(ANDY WONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In tense city streets, China brings out the iron fist

On a sunny morning, four black trucks race north on Beijing’s second ring road, lights flashing and sires blazing. “Te jing,” the script on the side says: special police. In the sky over a busy bar district, a helicopter turns clattering circles, one of five dispatched to monitor China’s capital from on high. In the two blocks leading to a scooter shop in an otherwise unremarkable neighbourhood, a dozen security officers stand on street corners and sit in the shade of doorsteps.