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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Dozens killed in China blast
Soldiers pull people out of the wreckage of a bombed building in Shijazhuang
More than 100 people were killed in bombings in March
At least 41 people have been killed in an explosion in north-western China, the country's official Xinhua news agency has reported.

Nearly 90 people were injured and a dozen people were buried underground following the explosion in the village of Mafang, in the province of Shaanxi, according to the report.

Deadly blasts
March, Shijiazhuang: 108 killed by homemade bombs
March, Jiangxi: 42 students and teachers killed; cause disputed
July, Shaanxi: At least 41 killed, reportedly by improperly stored explosives
Police blamed the blast on explosives that were moved to Mafang after a crackdown in April on illegal explosives factories.

Rescue teams were sent to the region and police are seeking a man suspected of moving the explosives to his brother's home in the village.

Nineteen of the 22 seriously injured people are said to be out of danger.

Crackdown

China has been trying to crack down on explosives following a series of deadly blasts this year.

More than 100 people were killed in what the authorities said was a campaign by a man using homemade explosives in the northern city of Shijiazhuang in March.


The bomber and two people who sold him explosives and fuses were executed for their roles in the bombings. A fourth was sentenced to death but the execution order has been suspended for two years.

An explosion at a school in Jiangxi province in southern China killed 42 students and teachers in March.

There were conflicting reports about the cause of that blast, with officials blaming a crazed bomber, while parents said the children had been forced to manufacture fireworks.

Explosives and the chemicals used to manufacture them are easily available in China. They are used for clearing fields and construction sites and in illegal coal mining.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jim Corrigall
"Using cheap chemicals to make explosives illegally is a popular and lucrative business"
See also:

29 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Three executed over China blasts
17 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China says 108 killed in blasts
08 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
'Madman' blamed for China school blast
07 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Fireworks blamed for China school deaths
02 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
China closes fireworks factories
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