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Security high for college entrance exams

BEIJING — Police, security guards and volunteers manned test venues today as high-stakes college entrance exams began across China following a string of deadly attacks on schoolchildren.

Seventeen youngsters were killed and more than 50 wounded in five major assaults in the last two months. They were unrelated and carried out by lone attackers, three of whom had histories of mental illness.

Tens of thousands of paramilitary police have been deployed across the country to enforce security during testing, China National Radio reported. At one middle school in Beijing, a half-dozen police guarded the front gate as hundreds of students and their parents milled outside waiting for the venue to open.

In southern China's Guangxi region, boarding school teachers will walk their students to the exam sites, the official Xinhua News Agency said. In Henan and Anhui provinces, emergency response teams were prepared for any disturbances, including those caused by bad weather, food poisoning or traffic accidents.

"All the relevant departments and local governments are fully prepared to respond to emergencies during the exam," Xinhua cited Liu Junyi, vice director of the exam center under the Ministry of Education, as saying.


The stepped-up security measures were in addition to routine restrictions put in place during the two-day exams, including rerouting traffic around test venues, ordering drivers not to blow their car horns and shutting down construction sites — all designed to minimize distractions to test-takers.

Each year, about 10 million high school seniors across China take the "gaokao," the exam that is the sole determinant for entry into university. About 68 percent of the test takers this year are expected get into a college.

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