Asia-Pacific News

Villas, fake tourists threaten China military bases

A group of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers during training at their base in Luzhou, in southwest China's Sichuan province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

The security of Chinese military bases is being threatened by illegally built high-rise buildings, and in one case villas built inside a base, and fake tourists seeking access to sensitive sites to spy, state media said on Wednesday.

Only a tiny fraction of the 4,800 local government and military bodies which are supposed to protect such facilities are currently doing their jobs properly, the official China Daily cited senior military officers as saying.

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"Fake companies or sight-seeing tours are often used as pretexts by outside entities to approach sensitive Chinese facilities for the purpose of gathering military secrets," officer Song Xinfei told the newspaper.

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One government on the southern resort island of Hainan, a province which has responsibility for the disputed South China Sea, allowed villas to be built by a foreign firm inside a base, it added, quoting the military's People's Liberation Army Daily.

Air bases have also been disturbed by high-rises built too close for safe flying operations, the China Daily added.

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"There are more than 1,000 high-rises that exceed their approved heights inside the flight security perimeters of our air bases, leading to the closure of nearly 20 bases and about 100 accidents," another officer, Shan Shaoli, was quoted as saying.

The government hopes to address these problems by strengthening a law to protect military bases which was approved by China's largely rubber stamp parliament last week, the newspaper added.