Emergency authorities discourage ‘one-size-fits-all’ on fireworks ban as China rings in the Spring Festival
Published: Jan 31, 2024 10:32 PM
This photo taken on May 18, 2022 shows a firework show at an exposition park of firework culture in Shangli County, east China's Jiangxi Province. Photo:Xinhua

This photo taken on May 18, 2022 shows a firework show at an exposition park of firework culture in Shangli County, east China's Jiangxi Province. Photo:Xinhua

Days before China rings in the Spring Festival, emergency authorities have discouraged cities to take a 'one-size-fits-all' approach on fireworks ban. 

The reminder from the Ministry of Emergency Management came amid recent debate over how to balance the age-old tradition with safety and environmental concerns as some cities rolled out notices prohibiting fireworks.

Traditionally speaking, fireworks have long been an integral part of Chinese New Year with their origins rooted in a folklore that tells of their use to scare off the mythical creature known as the "nian."

The ministry said local governments will be guided to take into account public opinion, weigh up the pros and cons and make fireworks regulation based on local conditions, "an across-the-board ban should be avoided," the ministry stressed. 

It made the statement in response to a proposal on revising and improving the regulations on fireworks safety management submitted by a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), Pang Guoming, from Henan Province. 

Warning of complete ban on fireworks doesn't equal to taking laissez-faire approach on security of fireworks. The ministry said it attaches great importance on security and supervision of fireworks, including examining the over amount of usage and unauthorized changes in the use of the warehouse during fireworks production. 

According to the Ministry of Public Security, in 2017, 444 cities banned fireworks and 764 cities set certain scale of limitation on the burning of fireworks.
In December 2023, a number of places across the country have announced a whole-time ban on fireworks, rekindling public debate over fireworks ban. Among them are Xianyang city in Shaanxi Province, Gushi county, Jiaozuo city and Xuchang city in Henan Province.

Observers generally believed that it is undeniable that fireworks would cause pollution problems and also safety hazards but it still doesn't constitute reasons to a complete deprival of Chinese people's tradition to taste that festive vibe after a year of hard work.

The practice of complete fireworks ban in some places is a lazy administration mindset. A feasible prohibition measure on fireworks is more reasonable, Wang Hongwei, a professor from the Renmin University of China's school of public administration and policy, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Wang suggested banning fireworks in places near chemical plants, gas and oil stations and green lighting the fireworks in open areas such as squares and less-populated spaces or limiting the duration to allow fireworks. Local fire departments should remain on guard to keep an eye on safety risks, Wang noted.  

In line with adopting a flexible measure on fireworks during Spring Festival holidays, the ministry also said it, together with public security agencies and market supervision authorities will continue to take measures to ensure safety relating to the fireworks production and transport.