No pigeons, planes, pingpong balls as China meeting nears

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

One toy store owner said authorities had told him to stop selling medium- and large-size 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 1½ feet 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 the 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, buyers 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 the 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,” Mr. 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.

“I went back and got an old knife and tried to sharpen it. I guess I have to live with it until the congress finishes,” he added, glumly.

Wang Ye, an engineer from Beijing who lives in Shanghai, was planning to return to his home city to run a marathon, but it was postponed with no word on when it might be held. The date of a marathon in the eastern city of Hangzhou, near Shanghai, also was changed.

“There is no official explanation, but we all know that it is due to the 18th Congress,” he said. “(The Beijing marathon) has been held regularly for the past 31 years.

“I guess I will give up running competitions in China and try to attend more abroad,” Mr. Wang said. “At least they tell me the schedule one year before the event.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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