Beijing bans explosives ahead of congress

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BEIJING, Sep 13 (Reuters) Police in the Chinese capital have launched a crackdown on illegal explosives as a security precaution in the run-up to the Communist Party congress in mid-October.

The campaign started in a village on the outskirts of the city where police confiscated more than 500 grams of black powder and dozens of fireworks, Xinhua news agency said.

The village is surrounded by hundreds of illegal small coal mines, where explosives are widely used, all of which have been shut down.

''Police will comb areas with concentrations of small illegal collieries, rented and abandoned houses and underground markets with explosive detection devices and sniffer dogs,'' Tang Yunli, deputy chief of the social security administration department of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, was quoted as saying.

The 17th Party Congress, opening on October 15, is arguably China's most significant political gathering in five years.

Party boss Hu Jintao is expected to use it to tighten his grip on power and chart future policy priorities for the nation.

REUTERS JT BST1035

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