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Fireworks business booming
By Xiao Ma (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-24 05:44

As Beijing lifts its 12-year ban on fireworks, more than 6,000 traders have registered to become legally licensed firework sellers.

A new rule, allowing Beijingers to let off fireworks within the city's Fifth Ring Road during Spring Festival (China's Lunar New Year), is opening up a niche for the trade.

However, only franchised vendors, holding work safety certificates as well as firework sales permits, are allowed to sell the explosive goods.

The Beijing Municipal Regulations on Firecracker Safety Management, adopted on September 9 by the local legislature to replace the Regulations Banning Firecrackers, will come into force on December 1.

The capital will set up 3,015 firework shops to cater for next year Spring Festival which falls on January 26, the Beijing News daily reported yesterday.

The Beijing Supply and Marketing Co-operatives, the capital's only fireworks distributor, have ordered 400,000 boxes of 650 kinds of fireworks and firecrackers for the coming Spring Festival, the Beijing-based The First daily said yesterday.

Orders this year are three times what they were before 1993, when the fireworks ban was introduced due to security and environmental concerns.

The fireworks, on order from Hebei, Henan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, are worth a total 100 million yuan (US$12 million).

Firecrackers are traditionally believed to chase away demons, especially at Spring Festival.

But, some believe relaxing the firework ban is a dangerous move.

Beijing resident Wei Jingmin told Xinhua: "Firecrackers are too noisy and dangerous." And he may have a point: During the first five days of the 2004 Spring Festival, government statistics show, 61 per cent of fires in Beijing were caused by fireworks.

The new rule prohibits people from letting off fireworks in crowds, motor vehicles or buildings.

Fireworks are also outlawed in areas adjacent to government buildings, sites of historical interest, kindergartens, homes for the old, railway stations and military facilities.

(China Daily 11/24/2005 page3)

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