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November 1, 2012

China bans toy planes, pigeons to secure congress



Police in the capital are asking that Chinese show their ID cards and foreigners their passports when buying remote-controlled model aircraft over safety concerns, the official Global Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

One toy store owner said authorities had told him to stop selling medium and large-sized planes.

"This kind of plane can't fly over long distances and it can hardly carry anything," said Chen Ziping, holding up a model about half a meter (half a yard) long. "They just told me to stop selling it and I have to follow the order."

The Global Times quoted an unnamed police officer from Aoyuncun station in Chaoyang district as saying that people wanting to buy model planes during the congress should go to the vendor's local police station to register. When the buyer receives approval from the station's police chief, he can make the purchase, the officer said.

Still, they won't be allowed to fly model planes in the city, and balloons also are on the blacklist, the newspaper said. It cited another officer from Chaoyang district Public Security Bureau as saying that pigeon owners must keep their birds in their coops during the congress.

Chen Jieren had a run-in with the security rules Sunday after the handle of his knife broke while he was cooking dinner. He took his ID card to the supermarket, knowing that people must show identification when buying knives during sensitive periods.

"Well, it didn't work this time," Chen said in a telephone interview. "I was told by the police that no more knives can be sold, not even pencil sharpeners. And I don't think the shopkeeper was kidding, because several days ago I saw myself that police were asking the sales assistants in the stationer's not to sell pencil sharpeners.

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