Foreigners and Chinese residents who wish to enter Tiananmen Square now need to unzip their winter coats and bring their second-generation identification cards for a security check, an officer from Tiananmen police station told the Global Times Thursday.
"Now that it's winter and everybody's wearing such thick clothes, to prevent dangerous items being hidden inside, it is advised that tourists wearing jackets and down coats should unzip them to be checked," he said.
Some tourists will also be selected randomly to check on their identity cards.
As more than 100,000 people enter and leave Tiananmen Square everyday, the police officer said it is hard to do identity checks on all of them, so random checks will be employed.
"Foreigners are required to take their passports to the square, but foreigners should always carry their passports, not only in Tiananmen Square, but to other places as well," he said.
Wei Shimeng, a 22-year-old student who graduated from Beijing 161 High School, located near Tiananmen Square, said security back then was not as tight, and people could enter and leave the square at will.
Bags were only checked if people wanted to climb the gate tower.
"I think these measures might cause panic among the people, thinking things might go wrong," she said.
The police officer denied the new security measures are connected to the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which starts November 8.