Following the partial lifting of the ban on firecrackers in urban areas of Beijing, their use will be permitted on January 28 and 29 (the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve and New Year's Day), as well as between 7 AM and midnight after that until the 15th day of the first lunar month.
According to Beijing Evening News on November 21, firecrackers worth 93 million yuan (US$11.51 million) will be legally delivered to the capital by the end of the year, three times the quantity available in 1993 when they were totally banned in urban areas.
The paper said 80 percent of them will enter the market from January 1 to January 29, the day of Spring Festival, and there should be more small-sized than big-sized firecrackers available in urban areas.
Beijing Firecrackers Quality Supervision Station was also established by the new policy to examine firecrackers before they can be sold in the city legally.
The size, labeling and packaging of firecrackers will be examined and gunpowder samples collected for analysis.
A series of tests, including impact, friction, fire, heat as well as a measure of the blast produced, will be used to assess the safety of the gunpowder used.
Tests simulating possible storage and transportation conditions, including high temperature, low temperature and freefall, will also be conducted.
Other measures gauged will include ignition times, noise levels and height of fireworks.
Although most firecrackers will have passed tests at factories and with local authorities before transportation, it is still necessary to examine them before they enter the market in Beijing because their quality may change while being stored and moved.
Beijing Firecrackers Quality Supervision Station will also be responsible for providing investigation reports after accidents that take place during firecracker production, storage, transportation and use.
(China.org.cn by Wang Sining, December 7, 2005)