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China’s anti-spy agency orders pax at multi-use airports to close windows

China’s Ministry of State Security, the country’s top anti-spy agency, is urging passengers at military-civilian airports to keep aircraft to close window shades and avoid taking photographs. 

The ministry warned that defying these orders could compromise national security and may lead to sensitive information being leaked, a report from South China Morning Post (SCMP) said

Via a WeChat post, the ministry cited an incident in which a foreign national was suspected to have illegally captured images from an aircraft window.

The ministry also said another passenger was detained for seven days after a flight was ordered to return to the gate for security checks after they were seen opening the window shade during takeoff to take a photograph. 

Airlines normally require passengers to have windows open during takeoff and landing for security and in the event of emergencies.

The ministry also pointed out that protecting national security is the responsibility and obligation of every citizen and that taking photographs of military facilities and equipment is an act that “seriously endangers national security”.

Joint use airports, or military-civilian airports, make up nearly a third of China’s airports. Used for both military and civil aviation, these airports typically contain facilities of both a civil airport and a military air base. These airports are reserved for military use in times of war.

Examples of joint use airports outside of China are Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in Florida, Belfast International Airport (BFS) in Northern Ireland, UK, and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), sharing facilities with Changi Air Base.

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