2022-01-13 09:55:52

Some Chinese cities could allow fireworks in urban areas during Spring Festival “to add to the festive atmosphere” amid the COVID-19 gloom, Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper, reported Wednesday.

Earlier this week, authorities in the city of Yuxi in the southwestern province of Yunnan addressed online complaints over fireworks, saying some cities were considering lifting restrictions on fireworks for this year’s celebrations, without disclosing names.

Setting off fireworks is a centuries-old Chinese tradition used to celebrate festivals like the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 1 this year. But authorities have tightened restrictions over the years due to safety and environmental concerns such as air and noise pollution.

Local governments across the country have either restricted or banned the sale, transportation, and use of fireworks — even targeting alternative products such as “cold fireworks” — during important celebrations. However, big cities like Beijing have entirely banned fireworks across the capital city since Jan. 1, unless in special events with government approval, while Shanghai has prohibited fireworks within its downtown areas.

In 2020, firework-related accidents killed nine people across China, down 70% year-on-year, according to official data.

China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said in 2019 that it was working on updating fireworks safety management regulations to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to banning fireworks, and encouraging organized firework displays during important traditional festivals. The revised draft is yet to be published.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: People Visual)