The Straits Times
Published on Nov 01, 2012

China bans toy planes, pigeons to secure congress


BEIJING (AP) - Don't roll down the taxi windows. Don't buy a remote-controlled plane without a police chief's permission. And don't release your pigeons.

Beijing is tightening security as its all-important Communist Party congress approaches, and some of the measures seem downright bizarre. Kitchen knives and pencil sharpeners reportedly have been pulled from store shelves, and there is even a rumour that the authorities are on the lookout for seditious messages on pingpong balls.

The congress, which begins on Thursday, will name new leaders to run the world's most populous country and second-largest economy for the next decade. Most of the security measures have been phased in in time for Thursday's opening of a meeting of the Central Committee, the roughly 370-member body that is finalising preparations for the congress.

China always tightens security for high-profile events, like much of the rest of the world. London, for instance, restricted air traffic during the Olympics.