Firecracker ban lifted in some Chinese cities ahead of Lunar New Year on Jan

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WASHINGTON: Authorities in some Chinese cities have lifted the ban on fireworks amid protests, ahead of the Lunar New Year on January 22, US-based non-profit news service Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

However, the authorities in some other Chinese cities have, in fact, doubled down on the ban, the report claimed, adding that they have been punishing residents for setting off firecrackers.

Firecrackers in Beijing were first banned in 1993 after 544 people were injured in cracker-related incidents. The crackers were also deemed to contribute to the country’s pollution.

The complete ban was, however, lifted in 2005 and people were allowed to burst crackers around the Lunar New Year. But the ban was reinforced in 2012 following a decline in the country’s air quality.

Local governments in Dongying and Binzhou cities of China have, through their official websites, announced that fireworks and firecrackers will be allowed to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, say reports.

Authorities in Beijing and the northeastern port city of Dalian will allow fireworks within limited hours until the first month of the lunar calendar, the government-backed news site The Paper reported, according to RFA.

Officials in the northern province of Hebei said the ban on firecrackers would continue.

Online news service Red Star said in the southwestern city of Ya’an alone, eight districts and counties have different regulations on fireworks around the Lunar New Year, reported RFA.

Qin Peng, a New York-based political commentator, said public defiance to the firecracker ban came three years after the enforcement of the ‘Zero Covid’ policy.

“Chinese people have so much pent-up pain and anger in them over the last three years, that they have erupted in protests in lot of places,” the RFA quoted Qin as saying.

“The authorities know very well that they have provoked public anger, and that it’s not just among a minority group, but that it runs right through all of China’s cities and villages,” Qin added. (ANI)

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