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Five killed in blast at China fireworks factory

Five people have been killed and seven others injured in an explosion at a fireworks factory in central China, just weeks ahead of the Chinese New Year, authorities said.

The Tongxu county government in Henan province said a team has been set up to investigate the blast, the cause of which was not immediately clear.

China is less than a month away from new year celebrations, when holiday revellers set off fireworks to ring in the new lunar year.

There are often reports of fireworks-related incidents at factories in the weeks leading up to the holiday, as China generally has a poor record on workplace safety.

On Wednesday, four workers died in an explosion at a machinery factory 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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