Hong Kong protests: Chinese New Year fireworks show 2020 cancelled

South China Morning Post

The Year of the Rat will be welcomed with less fanfare than past years, due to government concerns over 'the current situation'

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Sadly, the Year of the Rat won't be brought in with a bang in Hong Kong.

Another new year celebration, another round of fireworks cancelled. Following the December 31 pyrotechnic extravaganza being called off, the signature Chinese New Year fireworks show has also been dropped, the latest major event in Hong Kong to fall by the wayside over the city’s anti-government protests.

Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing confirmed today that the display at Victoria Harbour, which was scheduled for the second day of the celebrations on January 26, would be axed, blaming the “current situation”.

He said said the government, which organises the event, had safety concerns, with the seven months of protests engulfing the city showing little sign of abating.

Referring to the widespread cancellations of major events in the city, Yiu said: “It is not good for Hong Kong’s reputation.

“When it comes to safety issues, the decisions are understandable.”

The fireworks, which at about 20 minutes long are the city's largest in terms of duration, have been at the heart of the Lunar New Year festival for years.

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The last time they were cancelled was in 2018 in the wake of a bus accident in Tai Po that claimed 19 lives and injured at least 60.

Home affairs minister Lau Kong-wah confirmed the government's decision to drop the Lunar New Year fireworks due to “the current situation”.

“After careful assessment, we decided to cancel the Lunar New Year fireworks based on public safety concerns,” he said today.

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He added the light show at Victoria Harbour and performances in West Kowloon Cultural District would not be affected.

Aside from the fireworks blow, it was previously announced the Lunar New Year celebrations would be watered down, with a three-day carnival replacing the usual parade through Kowloon.