Ruling fizzles out against folk firework-maker

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/1 17:43:39

A 79-year-old firework-maker in Hebei Province charged with possessing explosive substances was exempted from serving a 4.5-year sentence by an appeals court Friday.

Yang Fengshen of Zhaoxian county, Hebei Province had been assembling fireworks for the annual Wudao Fireworks Show in 2016 when police were called to his residence.

Yang was found in possession of 15 kilograms of firework-making materials and 200 fireworks known as "pear shaped bottles." 

Despite being a firework-maker officially recognized by the province, Yang was convicted of unlicensed possession of explosives by a county court.

He was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on the grounds that provincial authorities can only issue licenses for explosives to businesses, a Zhaoxian county government official said.

Yang and his son appealed the decision to a Shijiazhuang city court.

The court did not overturn the ruling, but exempted Yang from serving his sentence due to his advanced age and recognition as a folk craftsman.

Since 1996, Yang has been responsible for the Wudao Fireworks Show, a local celebration on the Lantern Festival.

The show was listed as intangible cultural heritage in 2012 by the Hebei provincial government.

The lawsuit not only put a damper on the festivities, but Yang's craft is now in danger of fizzling out.

"I'm the fourth-generation craftsman with the unique skill," said Yang. "There's a fifth-generation craftsman and he's already over 60. But now it seems that he can't pass on the craft anymore.

"My father is turning 80 soon, and we can't afford the time," said Yang's son. "We decided to stop making fireworks, and we don't know what to do with the Wudao show."

Posted in: ODD NEWS

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