Explosives crackdown after time-bomb blasts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 February, 1997, 12:00am

China has ordered a police crackdown on the production of illegal explosives, two days after three time-bombs exploded in Xinjiang.

A circular from the Ministry of Public Security, printed in the People's Daily, said illegal explosives were flooding the country and that some were being used by 'criminal elements' to destabilise society.

Muslim separatists are believed to be responsible for the blasts.

Chinese industry, especially the mining sector, uses vast quantities of explosives every year, but security controls on their sale, transport and storage are often extremely slack.

Explosives can readily be bought on the black market.

The circular said police should spare no efforts to track down illegal producers of explosives and monitor materials used to make them, adding that those found contravening the laws should be pursued and punished.

It called on police to co-operate with local government and Communist Party leaders to tighten supervision, particularly in rural areas where home-made explosives are used in small mines and quarries and frequently cause accidents.

The circular said that in many regions the production, sale, warehousing, transport and use of explosive materials was done under 'chaotic management'.

'This has caused a great flood of explosives into society, with some being used by criminal elements to commit acts that cause great harm to social stability and public safety,' the circular said.

Tuesday's explosions in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, which killed up to seven people and injured about 60, occurred as the final rites were being observed in Beijing for Deng Xiaoping .

Despite widespread fear of further unrest, state media have not reported any incidents.

This week's attack was the second outbreak of separatist violence in Xinjiang within a month, following rioting in Yining near the China-Kazakhstan border on February 5 and 6 that left nine dead.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.