Tight security ahead of Brics summit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sanya, China - Hours ahead of President Jacob Zuma's arrival in China for Thursday's Brics summit, Chinese officials have set up a massive security cordon around nearby Yalong Bay, where the various Heads of State are to stay.

Zuma is expected to arrive in Sanya early tomorrow morning where he is to hold bilateral meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the afternoon. In the early evening, he is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Ahead of Zuma's arrival, an unusual sight greets those delegates that opted for a quiet wander down Yalong Beach - that of tens of Chinese security personnel standing at attention, each under their own sun canopies at 50m intervals along the white sands and nets.

Out in the bay, two navel vessels patrol, while the beach itself in front of the five-star Hilton and the Marriot hotels at which the various delegations are staying, is divided by numerous nets attached to floats, presumably an attempt to detract any boats from landing here. 

Army personnel late yesterday afternoon inspected the outside of buildings and gardens around the Hilton, where Zuma and his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to stay.

Singh is expected to arrive later today accompanied by some 30 members of the Indian media and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is to jet in with her media contingent tomorrow.

It is not certain when Medvedev will arrive, but he will be accompanied by one of the biggest media contingents of 60 journalists, according to Chinese officials.

The South Africa media contingent is made up of less than 10 members - including etv, SABC television and radio and BuaNews. 

Meanwhile, China Central Television News presenter James Chau told BuaNews he was not surprised at China's invitation last year to South Africa to be part of the Brics grouping.

"I think it (the inclusion of South Africa) brings so much to the table by bringing in a whole chunk of the human family. If you didn't have South Africa, the leading economy in Africa, you would be missing out a whole important chunk of our world," he said.

Chau said South Africa also offered the world a model for what a sound banking system is like in practice, which he believed was something others could learn from following the recent global financial crisis.

Long Tiandun, who works at a pharmacy in nearby La Horet Commercial Center, believes the summit will help to bring China and South Africa together and that this could improve the livelihood of people on Hainan Island.

Speaking to BuaNews, Long said Sanya had seen many changes in the last 10 years, including the construction of a new highway, the opening of an express train service and the expansion of Sanya Phoenix International Airport, where Zuma and his counterparts will touch down.

Yang Yu Liang, security manager for the centre, believed the summit would help draw more tourists to Sanya.

Yu Liang, who said he knew South Africa as a soccer country from last year's World Cup, pointed out that his life had benefited significantly from the many changes Yalong Bay had seen in the last 10 years. 

Today he said Yalong Bay and Sanya drew tourists from all parts of the world, including mainly Russians, but also Africans as well.

Zhang Jing, 23, who works at Hawana Bar in the centre, said her family's livelihood has also improved in recent years, thanks to the boom in tourism and development.

She told BuaNews that she knew South Africa for its unique dance style, something she had seen while watching the opening ceremony at the World Cup. 

Yalong Bay is one of Hainan Island's most expensive areas, according to Joy Tian, the public relations manager at the South African Embassy in China.

Many high-rise apartments are under construction in and around Sanya and the road from the airport to Yalong Bay is lined with flowers and signboards handing from lamp poles welcoming delegates to the Brics summit.

Tian said the roads had recently been beautified ahead of Thursday's summit. - BuaNews