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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Shanghai imposes kite ban
Kite flying in China
Kite flying is a national pastime
Shanghai has banned kite flying in each of its 125 parks, following a number of accidents involving off-course kites and innocent by-standers.

Fang Yan, an official at the city's Gardening Administrative Bureau, said some people had been hit on the head, and that strings were also becoming entangled in overhead electricity wires.

Violators of the ban will be reprimanded, he said, although no stricter penalty is planned.

Kite flying, which was invented in China in the 4th or 5th century, is a national pastime. Enthusiasts - many of them elderly - gather at parks or squares with their colourful kites at evenings or weekends.

The Chinese believe kite flying is beneficial for the health.

Bureau officials told the Shanghai Daily that seedlings also had been damaged by wayward kites, and some people had been cut by the kites' strings if the wind suddenly dropped.

"In fact, we have been discouraging kite flying even before the rule went into effect. As a result we haven't had any untoward incident in our park," said Chang Yinglin, an official at the Shanghai People's Park.

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