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Security at Airports Strengthened
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China's General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) ordered tight airport security across the nation on Friday after British police foiled a terrorist plot to blow up aircraft between the United Kingdom and the United States.

But no flights heading for the two countries were cancelled, the CAAC said.

Starting from Friday, China's major international airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all banned liquids or gels from being taken aboard planes heading for the United States.

A news release issued by Beijing Capital International Airport said that drinks, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and any other liquids or gels are banned from the aircraft.

Passengers will have to leave these items in their check-in luggage or dispose of them at security checks.

The only exceptions are for baby food when the baby is travelling.

Penicillin and prescription medicine can still be taken onto the planes if the prescription is in the ticket holder's name.

"We were told of the ban after we arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport. Fortunately I managed to squeeze all my cosmetics into my check-in bags," said Li Tingting, 22, a Chinese exchange student travelling to the United States.

In addition to the requirements of the US Transportation Security Administration for all flights bound for the country, the Beijing airport has also asked every passenger to take off their shoes for examination.

Examining shoes will be a regular part of the screening procedure, said the airport.

Though many European airlines have cancelled flights to the United Kingdom, none of the flights leaving Beijing for the United States or the United Kingdom were cancelled.

"As far as I know, international flights leaving Beijing have not been disrupted by the incident. British Airways' daily flight for London took off at 10:52 am as scheduled," said a member of the airport's ground staff.

But travellers planning to buy cosmetics and liquor at the airport's duty-free shops will be disappointed. According to the security rules, liquid and gels bought at the airport are also banned.

Hong Kong's Airport Authority also warned people flying on US carriers to show up three hours in advance for security checks.

In another development, a China Southern airplane failed to take off after seven attempts on Wednesday night, reported Beijing Morning News.

Leaving Beijing for Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the flight was finally cancelled. The airlines compensated the passengers and arranged two other flights for them the next day.

(China Daily August 12, 2006)

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