Tue, Sep 22, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Beijing bans knife sales amid security fears, retailers say

AFP , BEIJING

China has temporarily banned knife sales in Beijing after two stabbings, major retailers said yesterday in the latest sign of official security fears ahead of National Day on Oct. 1.

Staff at foreign and domestic retailers in the capital, including Wal-Mart and Carrefour, said the ban was issued over the weekend, as Beijing clamps down to prevent disruption to festivities marking China's 60th birthday.

Police have said a Chinese man stabbed two people to death and wounded 14 on Thursday in the Dashilan shopping area near Tiananmen Square, where a military parade and other events are planned for Oct. 1.

On Saturday another Chinese man slashed an elderly French woman with a knife in the same area just south of the large square, a French embassy spokesman said.

The motive in each incident was not clear and both assailants were apprehended. The French victim was not seriously hurt.

“We have not been able to sell vegetable or fruit knives for the past two days. It may have something to do with the Dashilan incidents,” said a female staffer at a branch of the Jingkelong supermarket chain who would not give her name.

A female worker at a Carrefour branch said: “The order came down to us but it did not say why.”

The state-run China Daily said the ban would last until after National Day.

China is planning a huge celebration at Tiananmen Square to mark the founding of the communist state in 1949.

Preparations have included a huge security clampdown, with thousands of extra police stepping up security checks on highways and the underground rail system.

State media reported yesterday that flights out of Beijing would be delayed on the morning of Oct. 1 as part of ramped-up security. Authorities implemented a similar airport shutdown last year for the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

Chinese authorities are grappling with a wave of reported syringe attacks in the restive western region of Xinjiang and have announced jail terms of up to 15 years for seven people.

State press said yesterday that police in the northern city of Xian had arrested a pair of suspects over two stabbings there — one using a sharp bamboo stick and the other a nail — and had stepped up patrols.

City authorities have mobilized nearly 30,000 police and other security personnel to step up patrols in public places, the <> said, adding that 100,000 civilian volunteers would carry out street patrols.

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