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Frugality campaign, smog sour Chinese fireworks sales

Updated: 2013-12-11 14:52
( Xinhua)

Frugality campaign, smog sour Chinese fireworks sales

Fireworks light up the skyline of Beijing as residents celebrate the start of the Chinese new year January 23, 2012. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. [Photo / Agencies]

CHANGSHA - The approaching Chinese Lunar New Year festivities used to mean big business for He Jianwu, senior executive of a fireworks manufacturing plant in central China's Hunan province.

However, an ongoing frugality campaign by the Chinese government and the lingering smog that has hit most parts of eastern and northern China this month have dealt him a heavy blow.

He is board chairman of Hunan Dream Fireworks Co Ltd, which has participated in many domestic art and music festivals in the past. So far this year, He has not received a single government call for bidding on fireworks shows.

A circular released in late November by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top discipline watchdog, urged officials not to buy fireworks and firecrackers with public funds during holidays.

Many local governments and enterprises have responded to the call and canceled their planned fireworks shows during the holidays.

During the one-week Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan 31 in 2014, many Chinese normally set off fireworks and firecrackers to celebrate.

Although fireworks-triggered accidents happen every year, many Chinese people do consider fireworks an essential part of their lives, especially on weddings and during the Chinese New Year.

Many Beijing residents still have fresh memories of a fireworks gala during the Lantern Festival in February 2009 at the landmark China Central Television building, which caused a fire that killed a firefighter and injured six other firefighters as well as two construction workers.

"The domestic fireworks market has shrunk significantly as enterprises have been following the government's call and have reduced their budgets for fireworks shows," said Li Dingping, Party chief of the Liuyang Municipal Fireworks and Firecrackers Administration Bureau.

It is still uncertain if the huge fireworks inventories, which are significantly more than those in previous years, will be sold in the coming month, said Li.

Weather is another factor that will affect sales, he said.

"Many cities temporarily banned fireworks in the case of serious pollution in previous years," he said. "It's hard to tell the weather conditions during the Spring Festival."

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