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Curious convoy

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James Reynolds | 10:56 UK time, Monday, 17 November 2008

I'm back in Beijing after a trip to southern China to have a look at how the global financial crisis is affecting this country.

Armoured carHad a strange last morning in Shenzhen. The team and I were on our way to an interview at a toy factory. The traffic was jammed and people were standing by the side of the road. We saw a huge police convoy go by - dozens of motorbikes, several vans, and an armoured car right at the front.

None of us had ever seen this before in China - so we followed the convoy at a safe distance (we didn't want to repeat the experience of a colleague of mine in Jerusalem who once drove behind the Israeli prime minister's convoy and found several machine guns pointed straight at him from the rear vehicle).

We followed the convoy for a while (have a look at the photo) before peeling away. We asked local people if they knew why it was deployed - they told us they didn't know, that they'd never seen something like it before. It's entirely possible that the police were just moving vehicles from one place to another. But it does show that the authorities in this part of China have the resources to deal with social unrest if more people lose their jobs because of the world's financial crisis.


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