Aug 122015

Updated: A total of 521 people have been hospitalized, including 52 critically injured, according to a latest briefing at a conference held on Thursday afternoon on the rescue work.

Updated: Eight firefighting trucks have been damaged during the rescue work.

Updated: 214 officers and soldiers form a national nuclear biochemical emergency rescue team leave Beijing for rescue work in Tianjin.

Emergency supplies are rushed to the blast site. 

Updated: The samples collected at 5:30 am showed that the concentration of toluene, widely used as an industrial feedstock and as a solvent, has reached 3.7 milligrams per cubic meter in the air, higher than the national standard of 2.4 milligrams per cubic meter, Tianjin Daily reported.

Updated: A worker who survived the Tianjin warehouse blast said workers had not received any training in handling dangerous chemical goods.

Updated: As of 12:00 pm, the death toll has climbed to 44, including 12 firefighters. A total of 520 people have been hospitalized, including 66 critically injured.

Updated: State Council sets up investigation group for Tianjin blast.

Updated: Beijing currently experiences wind from the southwest and west, and Tianjin is located in the southeastern direction so the pollutants from the blast will go to the Bohai sea, thus having no influence on the capital, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said on Thursday.

Updated: Expert: Cyanide may have been present in Tianjin blast.

Smoke and fire are seen after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China's Tianjin Municipality on Aug. 13, 2015. An explosion rocked the Binhai New Area in north China's Tianjin Municipality at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. The cause and casualties are not immediately known. [Photo/Xinhua]

Smoke and fire are seen after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality on Aug. 13, 2015. An explosion rocked the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. The cause and casualties are not immediately known. [Photo/Xinhua]

Huge explosions have rocked China’s northern port city of Tianjin, leaving at least 17 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Another 32 people were critically injured and 283 people are under observation in hospital.

The blast ripped through the Ruihai warehouse, which stores dangerous goods, at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, following a fire report half an hour earlier. Fireballs erupted then ignited more explosions in companies nearby, according to rescuers.

Two firefighters were “out of contact” and another four injured during the rescue, according to the Tianjin firebrigade. There are people trapped inside the blast site and rescue operation is still going on.

The wounded have been sent to several hospitals nearby. Xinhua reporters saw blood everywhere on the floors of hospitals.

Lu Yun, head of Taida Hospital, which has admitted some 150 injured people, told Xinhua that the injuries were mostly from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious.

 Residents rush away from the site of blasts. [Xinhua]

Smoke and fire are seen after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality on Aug. 13, 2015. [Photo/]

The shockwaves were felt kilometers away, with window glass of buildings shattered.

The rolling doors and window glass of Donghai Road terminal station of Jinbin light railway, which serves as a major link between the Binhai New Area and the downtown Tianjin, were broken. Its roof also partially collapsed.

As of 3:00 a.m. Thursday, minor fires and blasts could still be seen from a far distance.

As soon as the explosion was under control, some taxi drivers and private car owners have voluntarily helped with sending the wounded to hospitals. Some hotels have provided free accommodation to residents displaced by the blast.

Latest updates on Tianjin blast

Smoke and fire are seen after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality on Aug. 13, 2015. [Photo/] 

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Jan 252015

Chinese police have busted a major group making and selling counterfeit railway tickets and detained five suspects on criminal charges, according to a Sunday statement from the Ministry of Public Security.

The case dates back to December last year when police in east China’s Jiangxi Province found a man who purchased two fake train tickets from an online store ran by a person surnamed Cui. Police authentication showed that the two tickets were very elaborately made and non-professionals would have difficulties discerning them.

Follow-up investigations found that Cui’s store clocked some 1,750 deals and made a profit of 300,000 yuan (48,100 U.S. dollars) between last September and December.

Tracing the source of ticket deliveries to a county in central China’s Hubei Province, police nabbed four suspects who ran the business under the identity of Cui, confiscating paper, ink, computers, printers and scanners there on Dec. 26.

Their underground workshop was busted the following day.

The suspects began making and selling fake tickets in October 2013, and pocketed more than 980,000 yuan from the sales of over 25,000 tickets, said the statement, citing their testimonies to the police.

The fifth suspect, surnamed Wang, was seized in the city of Cangzhou in north China’s Hebei Province for providing the group blank ticket papers as well as manufacturing devices.

The Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 19 for the year 2015, is a key Chinese holiday as hundreds of millions of people travel across the country for family reunions, putting a huge stress on transportation.

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Sep 252014

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region’s information office released details on a terrorist attack on Sept 21 that killed 10 people, including two police officers and two assistant police, and injured 54.

Forty attackers were shot dead by police or killed in suicide explosions, and two attackers were arrested in Luntai county, the Bayinguoleng Mongolia autonomous prefecture, the regional information office said on the night of Sept 25.

The multiple explosions were detonated simultaneously at about 5 pm at a bazaar patronized by local residents from ethnic groups; two police stations; and the front of a shop. Thirty-two of the injured victims were Uygurs, according to a statement from the Xinjiang information office.

A police investigation showed that the attackers were led by Memet Turson, who was shot dead by police. Memet Turson was under the influence of religious extremism since 2003 after he graduated from a vocational school, police said.

He has become more devoted since 2008. He believed the meals that his parents cooked were not halal because his parents were government workers. He even refused to attend his father’s funeral, police said.

Memet also refused to attend his brother’s wedding because the couple’s marriage certificate was issued by the government. He recruited people to join a terrorist group lead by him when he worked as a construction contractor. Memet then plotted and carried out the attack.

The investigation is continuing, local police said.

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Aug 152014

An investigation found a construction company used shoddy materials to build a rail line in north China’s Shanxi Province, failing design requirements, the China Railway Corporation (CRC) said Friday.

The confirmation from the country’s railway operator came more than a month after the Economic Information Newspaper under Xinhua News Agency revealed a quality scandal in the construction of the 164-km Taiyuan-Xingxian railway linking the central and northern parts of Shanxi.

Investigation and testing showed the construction company did not use the appropriate packing material required to build part of the rail line’s transition sections linking bridges and tunnels, thus failing design requirements, the CRC said in a short statement, without naming the construction company.

The investigation has found “no obvious quality defects” in the main architecture of the tunnels and they have met design requirements, it said.

Those responsible for the quality problem have been held accountable, the vaguely worded statement said, saying the CRC has “seriously treated” the project’s quality problem.

The construction unit was ordered to rebuild the problematic sections, and the construction and supervising units have been forbidden from bidding on future railway construction projects, it said, without giving further details.

With an investment of 8.7 billion yuan (1.41 billion U.S. dollars), the rail line linking the provincial capital city of Taiyuan with Xingxian County started construction in March 2010 and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of this year.

China Railway 12th Bureau Group Co., Ltd., affiliated with CRCC Limited, was one of the companies responsible for the rail line’s construction, according to previous media reports.

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Jun 232014

Anti-terrorism experts said the crackdown on terrorist-linked video and audio content on the Internet must intensify, as such information has fueled the spread of religious extremism and terrorist attacks in China.

Video and audio files released on the Internet by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement have spiked – from 32 files in 2012 to 109 last year. In the first three months of this year, the terrorist group released 36 such files.

Terrorist attacks in China also rose sharply last year, and the video and audio files are a direct cause of the increase, security analysts said.

On June 26, 16 terrorists launched an attack in Lukqun, a township in Turpan prefecture of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, leaving 35 dead.

The principal criminal of the gang, Ekrem Usman, said: “We watched some videos, which told us to launch jihad (holy war). We started to watch those videos in 2013.”

“He (Ekrem Usman) downloaded the video made by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which advocates jihad, to his cellphone at home, then drew people to join his group. He played the video and audio files when they held meetings and gradually developed their ideas of religious extremism,” said an officer from the Piquan county public security bureau in Xinjiang.

Terrorists from Xinjiang drove a jeep into a crowd at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing and set the vehicle on fire on Oct 28. Five people, including the three in the jeep, died, and 40 others were injured.

One of the suspects, Yusanjan Wuxuer, who participated in planning the attack, said: “Except for reading books and watching videos, I also received some materials from Usman Asan (the terrorist who killed himself in the attack). Nobody else spread the ‘ideas’ (extremist and terrorist ideology) to me.”

After an attack in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, on April 30, which killed three and injured 79 others, the ETIM released a video on how to make a briefcase bomb of the type that was used in the attack. It also claimed responsibility for it.

The “Turkestan Islamic Party”, the other name of the ETIM, released a video on the Internet referring to the Tian’anmen attack as “jihad”.

After the June 26 terrorist attack in Lukqun, the group released a statement: “It’s Allah’s order and the act of worship we must do to attack Chinese government organs and police stations and kill heretics and Muslims working for the Chinese government.”

According to Xinjiang police, several terrorist attacks against government organs occurred after the statement was released.

With the help of their own or other terrorist groups’ websites, free online storage facilities, file-sharing portals, social networking platforms and e-books, the ETIM promotes itself and spreads extremism via videos, said Yalikun Yakuf, deputy director-general of the Xinjiang public security department.

“The terrorists in China recruit new members by downloading those videos made by the ETIM and organize people to watch them, then launch terrorist activities,” he said.

“All those who participated in the terrorist attacks of ETIM have watched the videos, produced at home or abroad, that advocate terrorism, separatism or jihad,” said Li Sheng, a professor at the Xinjiang development research center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Apart from strengthening related legislation to prevent the spread of the video and audio content that fuels extremist ideology and instigates ethnic conflict, the government should also promote knowledge of the laws governing such criminal behavior among the public, Li said.

“Even as we protect the Internet and citizens’ freedom of speech, we shouldn’t give opportunities to the terrorists to make use of that freedom to spread their terrorist ideas,” said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

The ETIM, which advocates violence to force the separation of Xinjiang from China, has been identified as a terrorist group by China, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

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May 292014

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “nets spread from the earth to the sky” to defend against terrorist acts in Xinjiang, stressing long-term stability as the main goal for the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses the second central work conference on the development and stability of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in Beijing, May 28, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses the second central work conference on the development and stability of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in Beijing, May 28, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua] 

Xi made the remarks at the second central work conference on northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a two-day meeting which closed on Thursday.

While urging strengthened precautions and international anti-terrorism cooperation, Xi called for “walls made of copper and steel” and “nets spread from the earth to the sky” to capture terrorists.

The meeting was held in the wake of a series of bloody terrorist attacks in the region, including one in an open air market in Urumqi, the region’s capital, which left 39 people dead and 94 injured on May 20.

Calling for “meticulous” religious work, Xi stressed that there should be a focus on helping religion adapt to a socialist society and ensuring the role of religious figures and believers in boosting economic and social development.

“Focus on fostering a team of patriotic clergy and boosting the general quality of people in the religious circle so as to ensure that the leadership of religious organizations is firmly in the hands of people who love the country as well as religion,” he said.

According to Xi, the basic principle for easing religious tensions is to protect legal religious activities, deter illegal and extreme ones, guard against infiltration and crack down on crimes.

The president noted that people’s normal religious demands should be protected in accordance with laws and regulations and their customs should be respected.

“Legal channels for religious people to accurately grasp religious knowledge should be broadened,” he added.

Earlier this month, Xinjiang’s regional public security department said local police had busted 23 terror and religious extremism groups and caught over 200 suspects.


The president urged all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to “show mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and appreciation among themselves, and learn and help each other,” so that they could be united together “like seeds of a pomegranate.”

“The more separatists attempt to sabotage our ethnic unity, the more we should try to reinforce it,” the president said, adding that unity is the “lifeline” for people of all ethnic backgrounds.

He stressed the importance of Xinjiang residents, no matter their ethnicity, identifying themselves with China, its culture and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Efforts must be made to allow all ethnic groups to contribute to the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation, and to share the fruit of China’s development and prosperity, according to Xi.

He suggested that authorities should strengthen exchanges and communication between different ethnic groups, promote bilingual education, and strive for a more integrated social structure and community environment where people are not grouped solely based on their ethnicity.

They should also allow and encourage more people from minority ethnic groups to receive education, work or live in other parts of the country, so as to enhance mutual understanding among different ethnic groups and boost ties between them, Xi said.


Good governance in Xinjiang is vital to the whole Party and country, which is why the country should develop a comprehensive and long-term strategy on the region, Xi said.

“Our party’s strategy on Xinjiang is proven to be correct and must be continued in the long run. We should remain composed and confident of our strategy,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we should update our policies according to Xinjiang’s current situations.”

A priority of good governance is to improve people’s livelihood so that everyone from all ethnic groups feels taken care of by the Party and state, he went on, vowing that the government will focus on employment, education and poverty alleviation.

Under Xi’s proposals, the government will spend more on education facilities and work to enroll more children in schools, as well as carrying out more poverty-alleviation programs in rural and border areas of Xinjiang, he said.

Special policies will be issued concerning the development of southern Xinjiang, which has difficult geography and lower living standards.

Other provinces will continue offering financial support and sending professionals to Xinjiang.

Also, public cultural services will be improved and the Internet will be better managed to uphold patriotism and promote socialist values.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and its organs will play a leading role in building up good governance in Xinjiang, Xi said.

The Party will need officials “who have firm political stance, high competence and strong integrity.”

The CPC will promote officials that are loyal, brave enough to stand out at critical moments, liked by the people and good at handling emergencies and complicated situation, the president added.

Party organs at the grass-roots level have been urged to become a stronghold to serve the people, maintain stability and fight separatists.

The first central work meeting on Xinjiang was held in 2010 when the central authorities urged the region to push forward its economic, political, cultural and social development so as to achieve “leapfrog development and lasting stability.”

At that meeting, then President Hu Jintao vowed that by 2015, per-capita GDP in Xinjiang should catch up with the country’s average level and residents’ income and their access to basic public services should reach the average level of the country’s western regions.

Besides Xi, the other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee — Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli — also attended Thursday’s meeting.

Premier Li Keqiang stressed that a balance between development and stability is vital for Xinjiang.

More importance must be attached to benefiting local people and environmental protection, Li said.

Employment is the the biggest issue concerning people’s livelihood, he noted, urging all enterprises and investment projects in Xinjiang to try their best to employ local residents.

Efforts will be made to promote handicrafts with distinctive ethnic features and residents in the region will be encouraged to work in other parts of the nation, Li added.

The government plans to help local people, especially young, to learn to speak and write in standard Chinese, which might bring more opportunities for them.

Li promised that local people will benefit from the region’s rich natural resources and more government funds will be spent in protecting Xinjiang’s natural environment, such as water conservation and pollution control.

The government will also improve infrastructure in the region, such as building more railways, the premier said.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the leadership has clarified the major principles and tasks of the government’s work on the region.

Yu urged Xinjiang officials to be proactive in implementing the policies to promote lasting stability in Xinjiang.

He also called for concerted efforts from other provinces to provide assistance for the region and boost exchanges between ethnic groups.

The central leadership will check the implementation of the local policies, Yu warned.

An editorial of the CPC’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily, to be published on Friday, said that the meeting was held at a critical moment and is of great significance.

The newspaper called for confidence in Xinjiang’s future under the CPC leadership.

“The result of this meeting will inject strong dynamic to build a united, harmonious, prosperous, affluent, progressed, civilized Xinjiang where people can live and work peacefully and happily,” it claimed.

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Apr 282014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday discussed building an economic belt along the Yangtze River to underpin China’s sustainable economic development.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang looks at a shoulder pole used by migrant worker He Shaoqiang during his inspection of the port's infrastructure and water channel conditions in Wanzhou, Chongqing Municipality, April 27, 2014.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang looks at a shoulder pole used by migrant worker He Shaoqiang during his inspection of the port’s infrastructure and water channel conditions in Wanzhou, Chongqing Municipality, April 27, 2014.

He made the remarks while chairing a meeting in Chongqing in southwest China. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting.

Officials from the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planner, reported on plans for the economic belt, which will involve eleven regions including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan and Guizhou.

Li said that it has been a key pattern in the world’s economic development to start in coastal areas and then move inland along rivers to the landlocked regions, and the common experience of many developed countries in their modernization.

The Yangtze River traverses eastern, central and western regions, joining the coast with the inland, and will have unique strengths and huge potential, Li said.

The Yangtze River Delta is a key pole in China’s economic growth and the central and western regions boast the largest space for China’s economic growth, according to Li.

To build the Yangtze River economic belt is to set up a new chess game so that the coastal regions can support mutually and interact positively with the central and the western regions, he said.

Through reforms and opening-up, as well as some key projects, three “blocks” in the Yangtze River economic belt are expected to be invigorated, including the delta, city clusters along the central course and the Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone, according to Li. It can provide huge new development stimuli for more than a fifth of the country’s land and about 600 million people

Though the Yangtze River’s transport volume ranks the first among the global inland rivers, it still has remarkable potential, Li said, urging more efforts to improve the river’s transport capacity.

He also expected construction of the economic belt would help deepen reforms and opening-up, break administrative division barriers and build a modern market system along the regions of the river.

He highlighted ecological safety and warned against “pollution transfer” brought about by “industry transfer.”

Hou Yongzhi, head of the Department of Development Strategy and Regional Economy under the Development Research Center of the State Council, said China’s economy must maintain a certain speed to improve people’s livelihoods and the Yangtze River economic belt could be a new economic growth pole.

The economy faces downward pressures and the decision on the Yangtze project shows that China pays much attention to the development and opening-up of the landlocked regions, while it is improving the development quality of the coastal east, Hou said.

The regions along the Yangtze are expected to accommodate industries transferred from the coastal east, deepen opening-up and boosting urbanization, Hou said.

The largest difference between the Yangtze River economic belt and other economic zones is that it joins the east, central and west in a natural way and thus can help accelerate the ongoing industry transfer and economic transformation and upgrading, said Wang Jun, an analyst with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

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Apr 272014

The Taiwan authority on Sunday afternoon agreed to halt the construction of the island’s fourth nuclear power plant that triggered safety concerns.

Taiwan halts nuclear construction amid protest.

Taiwan halts nuclear construction amid protest. 

Construction of the plant’s No.1 and No.2 reactors will be halted. The No.1 reactor is undergoing safety inspections but will not be activated afterward, said Fan Chiang Tai-chi, head of the Culture and Communication Committee of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party.

The administrative authority also promised to convene a meeting to discuss the future electricity supply of the island, he said.

The two-point consensus were announced after a meeting between Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, administrative head Jiang Yi-huah and 15 KMT mayors and county heads.

Thousands of people on Sunday afternoon occupied the Zhongxiao West Road, a busy street in front of the train station in Taipei, where they sat or lied down on the ground to protest against the plant.

The traffic authority estimated that 77 bus lines and about 450,000 passengers had been affected by the traffic gridlock.

The demonstrators have vowed to continue their grip on the street until the authority responded to their demands, including scrapping the plant and lowering the turnout threshold for holding a “referendum.”

The Taiwan authority and the KMT on Thursday agreed to hold a “referendum” on whether to activate the plant. Taiwan’s current act requires participation of at least half of the island’s eligible voters to make a “referendum” valid.

Civic groups have long protested against the plant, which is under construction in New Taipei City, over safety fears. Protests have escalated since Tuesday when former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung staged a hunger strike to demand construction of the plant be scrapped.

The Taiwan Power Company, which is in charge of the island’s power supply, has said if the plant stopped construction, the heavy debt would cause the bankruptcy of the company.

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Apr 222014

Video clips of two men arguing with a couple from China’s mainland after their toddler relieved herself in a Hong Kong street caused a stir online.

One clip begins with a picture of a toddler squatting while the mother holds a diaper at the child’s bottom.

Then it skips to the couple arguing with a young man in a gray T-shirt speaking in Cantonese.

The woman keeps asking the local man: “What do you want me to do?”

Her husband grabs the man’s camera and during a struggle the memory card drops to the ground and the woman quickly picks it up.

The man then accuses the couple of stealing and threatens to call the police. The woman puts the diaper in a bag and the couple try to leave, saying they are not afraid, but are stopped by the man and a local woman. Throughout the incident, the toddler is crying loudly.

Another clip shows a Hong Kong man in a blue T-shirt blocking the family’s way and the stroller pushed by the mother knocking into him.

Then the man grabs the stroller, prompting the woman to hit him on the arm. The man in the gray T-shirt is filming.

Surrounded by onlookers, the woman desperately explains to the crowd that there was a long queue at the nearest public toilet, so they had no other choice but to let their child relieve herself in the street.

“The kid was about to pee in her pants, what do you want me do?” the mother asks.

Her enraged husband repeatedly asks the two men: “Do you have a kid? Do your children take pees?”

The video clip ends when a police officer arrives.

The couple were subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft and assault, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday.

The woman was released on bail and is due to report back to police in mid-May, while her husband was released unconditionally, the report said.

The man in the gray T-shirt reportedly had been taking pictures of the toddler’s private parts which was why the father had grabbed the camera.

The video clips attracted widespread attention over the weekend although the incident occurred last Tuesday.

The Hong Kong media praised the two local men as heroes who had fought against ill-mannered mainland tourists.

On the mainland, one online poll showed that while around 20,000 people disapproved of the parents, more than 115,000 expressed support for them.

While some said the parents lacked basic public decency, the majority of online users on the mainland said their behavior was understandable as they had tried to find a toilet and the mother had used a diaper to prevent a mess.

“I saw nothing improper in the parents’ behavior. They did all they could to prevent polluting the environment. On the other hand, the Hong Kong man taking pictures of the girl’s privates seems illegal,” Da Lin from Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation posted on

Moral high ground

Other online users condemned critics of the parents for “taking the moral high ground,” adding that to expect tourists unfamiliar with the city to find a public toilet in a short space of time was over the top.

The newspaper pointed out a Hong Kong regulation that stated no one should permit a child under 12 in their care to “obey the call of nature in any public street.”

There has been tension between Hongkongers and tourists from the mainland for some time.

A clip of a mainland couple arguing with Hong Kong passengers after their child defecated in an MTR Corporation train compartment caused outrage last year.

And when some Hong Kong residents labeled mainland tourists as “locusts” and “uncivilized,” people from the mainland accused Hongkongers of discrimination.

Over the past few months the city has seen several anti-mainlander protests in crowded shopping areas, among the favorite destinations for mainland tourists, the newspaper reported.

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Apr 132014

Police officers inspect confiscated knives on March 6 in Guiyang, capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province. [Photo/CFP]

Police have seized 15,000 guns and 120,000 knives in southwest Guizhou Province, the country’s largest haul of illegal weapons in its latest crackdown on violent crime.

Fifteen people suspected of being involved in the manufacture and trafficking of firearms have been arrested, China Central Television reported yesterday.

The seizure was the culmination of a four-month investigation which was launched after the capture of a street robbery suspect in the provincial capital Guiyang, who had a gun on him, CCTV said. He is said to have told police he bought the gun from a man surnamed Qu, who was later arrested.

Police found that Qu had been buying guns and illegal knives in neighboring Hunan Province and selling them in Guiyang.

A team of investigators sent to Hunan uncovered a family business headed by a man surnamed Chen and his son, and employing a number of relatives.

They had been handing out business cards across the country promoting the family’s “knife factory,” said a police official.

They had been in business for three years, buying guns and knives from south China’s Guangdong Province and selling them to buyers throughout the country, CCTV reported.

Police found that tens of millions of yuan had been flowing through bank accounts belonging to Chen and his son.

Guiyang police reported the case to the Ministry of Public Security, which directed a joint action by police from Guizhou, Hunan and Guangdong.

This resulted in the 15 arrests and the destruction of 11 sites where weapons were either being made or were being stored before being sold.

The guns found by police were made of iron and use steel balls as bullets. Some had a range of up to 200 meters.

They could cause serious injury at a distance but would prove fatal at close range, police said.

Machetes, daggers and other weapons, including crossbows, were also found to have been produced and sold by the business.

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