Mon, February 09, 2009
China > Mainland > 2009 Lantern Festival

Downtown Beijing to ban fireworks as of midnight Monday

2009-02-09 07:36:52 GMT2009-02-09 15:36:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Beijingers have been told to stop igniting and selling fireworks in the downtown areas as of midnight Monday, or face arrests, city authorities said.

The explosives will be banned within Beijing's Fifth Ring Road that encircles the urban areas, Beijing Fireworks Administration Office said in a statement Monday.

The office predicted this year's last "big bang" will last for two to three hours Monday night as citizens mark the traditional Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Beijing Public Security Bureau said it would tighten patrol after midnight and citizens who were caught lighting fireworks would be arrested and their names would be published on local newspapers.

In their last attempts to sell off leftovers, many firework vendors are offering "buy two, get one for free" or discounting original prices by 50 to 60 percent off.

Beijing's three fireworks wholesalers will collect vendors' unsold fireworks on Tuesday, but a handling fee about 20 percent of their market price is applicable, said Beijing Fireworks Co. Ltd. on its Web site.

It said the recollection of all fireworks would be completed within four days.

Meanwhile, citizens are encouraged to swap their leftover fireworks for fluffy toys, washing powder or other gifts at collection centers in their communities, the company said.

Fireworks are part of traditional celebrations marking the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which lasts until the Lantern Festival.

Total fireworks sales of this year have not been published. Yet on Jan. 26, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, sanitation workers collected 2,268 tonnes of fireworks debris in downtown Beijing.

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