China pollution

Happy New Year? Beijing risks turning celebrations into damp squib with fireworks ban

Capital of the nation that invented fireworks over a thousand years ago bans them as part of latest crackdown on dangerous activities

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 December, 2017, 12:49pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 December, 2017, 8:38pm

China may have invented fireworks but Beijing banned them from the capital on Friday ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations, as authorities clamp down on potentially dangerous activities.

The new regulation was passed by the local government, state news agency Xinhua said, and comes amid a citywide campaign that is driving an estimated tens of thousands of migrants from homes that authorities deem unsafe following a deadly fire.

In a country that is known for its fireworks – and is thought to have invented them more than a thousand years ago during the Tang dynasty (618-907) – the ban is not likely to be popular.

During the 15-day Lunar New Year period, the bangs, pops and flickers of fireworks are constant, and are thought to drive away evil spirits.

It is unclear if Beijing authorities will enforce the ban during the boisterous national holidays as well.

Firework sellers are worried though.

“No more firework stalls will be allowed within the fifth ring road,” said Tao Liang, marketing manager of Panda Fireworks, referring to one of a series of roads that encircle the heart of the city.

“It’s clear that sales will fall a lot.”

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The ban adds Beijing to a long list of Chinese cities that have restricted firework use in recent years amid safety and pollution concerns.

Those restrictions have sent Panda Fireworks, one of China’s largest firework makers, searching for new business.

“Our company has been thinking about the transformation for a long time,” Tao said.

“We established Panda International Information Technology Company in 2014, which is doing pretty good.”