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China to revoke licenses for firecracker workshops with serious accidents
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Production permits for China's firecracker facilities that are responsible for serious accidents should be revoked, Sun Huashan, deputy head of State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), said on Monday.

Workshops each with an annual sales volume of no more than one million yuan (135,135 U.S. dollars), which are responsible for less serious accidents, should also have their business licenses withdrawn, Sun added.

A serious accident at a firework enterprise is one which claims three to 30 lives, and an ordinary, or less serious, accident, claims no more than three lives.

In a related development, Sun said a number of firecracker retail stands should be put under strict control in densely populated areas. Concentrated marketing should be avoided.

Meanwhile, warehousing and distribution conditions of wholesale enterprises should be scrutinized.

Those selling firecrackers that are illegally produced and that contain highly explosive potassium chlorate should be penalized.

According to Sun, in the 40 days since Oct. 21, China witnessed 12 serious accidents related to firecrackers, claiming 86 lives.

The accidents happened in Hunan, Shanxi, Hebei, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Henan provinces, Chongqing Municipality and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

SAWS data as of early 2006 showed that there were approximately 7,000 firework production enterprises and 140,000 firecracker sellers in China, with some 1.5 million employees. The annual output value for firecrackers stood at some 12 billion yuan and export value at around 340 million U.S. dollars.

From 1985 to 2005, firecracker workshops nationwide reported 8,532 accidents with 9,349 deaths, or 460 deaths on average annually.

China accounts for 75 percent or so of world's total annual firecracker production.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)

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