Beijing police raid busy bar district for drugs

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BEIJING, Sep 24 (Reuters) Chinese paramilitary police swept through a busy bar district in Beijing, detaining about 20 African nationals suspected of selling drugs, witnesses said.

The raid at midnight on Friday in fashionable Sanlitun, also home to many embassies, came as police tighten security ahead of a Communist Party meeting in mid-October and next year's Olympic Games.

''The paramilitary police sealed off the street at both ends, then moved in,'' said a witness surnamed Wang.

''Some Africans entered the vans peacefully but others tried to flee and the police used force,'' added Wang, who works on the street frequented by young foreigners.

Other witnesses said the troops targeted anyone on the street with dark skin.

The Ministry of Public Security and the Beijing police both declined immediate comment.

Chinese police rarely get involved with foreigners if they can help it, owing mainly to poor foreign language skills.

REUTERS SZ AS0947

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