Fireworks debate picks up

February 21, 2010 | Posted by Chris

A debate over the tradition of fireworks during the Chinese New Year has gained traction as a number of fireworks-related accidents took place over the holiday, the Global Times of China writes. Making headlines today is the story of a blaze in a city in Hebei Province that destroyed an ancient city gate. Built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the southern city gate of Zhengding, located north of Beijing, was engulfed in a fire that was started by a misplaced firework. In Beijing, meanwhile, authorities report that fireworks have caused 90 fires and 347 injuries in the capital as of Friday. Fireworks have a long tradition in Chinese New Year -- legend says they scare away bad luck and help make room for good luck -- and today they are a major part of the holiday celebration. This debate of safety versus tradition is a passionate one that has been ongoing for many years, seen in the fact that fireworks were made illegal in 1994 and made legal again in 2006 due to public demand. In this debate, public safety advocates point to damage and injury caused by firework accidents, and firework-supporters say illegally-obtained fireworks and irresponsible holiday-goers should not be allowed to ruin a tradition.

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