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Beijing Halts Knife Sales   
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China has temporarily banned knife sales after two stabbing incidents in Beijing, major retailers said on Monday, in the latest sign of official security fears ahead of National Day on 1 October.

Staff at foreign and domestic retailers including Wal-Mart and Carrefour said the ban was issued over the weekend. It comes as Beijing clamps down to prevent disruption to festivities marking communist China's 60th birthday.

Police have said a Chinese man stabbed two people to death and wounded 14 others on Thursday in the Dashilan shopping area near Tiananmen Square, where a military parade and other events are planned for 1 October.

Then on Saturday another Chinese man slashed an elderly French woman with a knife in the same area just south of the giant square, a French embassy spokesperson told AFP.

Both assailants were apprehended.

Retailers said the order appeared linked to the attacks.

"We have not been able to sell vegetable or fruit knives for the past two days. It may have something to do with the Dashilan incidents," said a female staffer at a branch of the Jingkelong supermarket chain, who would not give her name.

A woman staffer at a local Carrefour branch said: "The order came down to us but it did not say why."

The state-run China Daily said the ban would last until after National Day.

China is planning a huge celebration at Tiananmen Square to mark the founding of the communist state.

Preparations have included a huge security clampdown, with thousands of extra police stepping up security checks on highways and the underground rail system.

State media reported on Monday that flights out of Beijing would be delayed on the morning of 1 October as part of ramped-up security. Authorities implemented a similar airport shutdown last year for the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

The perpetrator of Thursday's attack was identified by police as 46-year-old Zhang Jianfei, from northeastern Jilin province. Police said he was drunk at the time but provided no details about a possible motive.

Saturday's attack was allegedly carried out by a man identified as Dou Mingxiang (41) from eastern Jiangxi province, the French embassy spokesperson said. He said the woman suffered only slight injuries.

Chinese authorities are already grappling with a wave of reported syringe attacks in the restive western province of Xinjiang, and have announced jail terms of up to 15 years for seven people.
Source: AFP

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