Blast in fireworks factory kills 5 in central China

BEIJING -- Five people were killed and seven injured on Thursday in an explosion at a fireworks factory in central China, just weeks ahead of the Chinese New Year authorities said.

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The Tongxu county government in Henan province said a team was set up to investigate the blast. Its cause was not immediately clear.

China is less than a month away from new year celebrations, when holiday revelers set off fireworks to ring in the new lunar year. Often there are reports of fireworks-related incidents at factories in the weeks leading to the holiday, as China generally has a poor record in workplace safety.

On Wednesday, a machinery factory was hit by an explosion that killed four workers in the eastern city of Shanghai.

The county of Tongxu was in the spotlight recently when local authorities ordered the demolition of a gigantic statute of communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, after the structure drew sneers from a large segment of the public.



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