Beijing, Sep 27 (PTI) China’s volatile Xinjiang province has installed new high-tech body scanners for road security checks to prevent any terror attacks before the 19th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party next month, state-media reported.

Xinjiang bordering Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK) and Afghanistan is located in China’s North Western region. The province is restive for years over protests by its majority Uygur Muslims about over the increasing settlements of Chinese from the Han community.

China is battling militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjuang which is reported to have links with the Islamic State.

Chinese government apprehends terrorist attacks ahead of the CPC’s 19th Congress on October 18 which was expected to endorse a second term for President Xi Jinping.

A division from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Tumxuk in Xinjiang recently introduced 10 units of terahertz security scanners, which were installed at road safety 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 state-run Global Times yesterday.

An alarm will go off if the scanner detects metal or explosive objects during the scanning process.

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.

Xu noted many people are concerned about the possible health risks the machine might pose but it is harmless.

“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 daily.

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 said.

Qin said that the Tumxuk local government has invested heavily in these scanners to enhance their counter-terrorism work ahead of the upcoming Congress of the CPC.

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

China’s Security czar Meng Jianzhu, a high ranking member of the CPC, had 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.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.