08/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Beijing Becomes Giant Fortress For Olympics

On the day that 16 Chinese police offers were killed by bomb-throwing attackers in western China, The New York Times is running a article on the "smothering blanket of security" imposed across Beijing before the Olympic Games begin Friday. According to the Times, the Chinese are warning that terrorism is a "constant threat." Read more on HuffPost's Olympics big news page.

Chinese officials have thrown an almost smothering blanket of security across this capital of 17 million in preparation for the start of the Olympic Games on Friday. Above all else, Chinese leaders say, these Olympics will be "safe."

They warn that terrorism is a constant threat, particularly from Muslim separatist groups in the Xinjiang region of western China. On Monday morning, Xinhua, the state news agency, reported what appeared to be the deadliest attack against Chinese security forces in recent memory: 16 policemen were killed and 16 others injured when attackers threw two grenades into a police station in the desert oasis town of Kashgar, in the far west, after driving a truck into the station at 8 a.m. Two men were arrested.

Human rights groups are expressing concerns over the clampdowns:

But human rights advocates accuse the Chinese government of using the pretext of terrorism to silence dissent and clamp down on ethnic minority groups that chafe at rule by ethnic Han Chinese, who dominate the Communist Party leadership. Some security experts say many of the surveillance measures will probably stay in place after the Games, to bolster the reach of the authorities.