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TV Host Calls for Firecracker Limit During Spring Festival
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To many people firecrackers bring forth joy during the Spring Festival, and nightmare to some others.

"Loud noises from firecrackers would incur heart attack of the elderly and scare the children," said Zhao Zhongxiang, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

In addition, some dogs were shocked to death and birds were forced to quieter places, said the renowned TV host who earned his fame by hosting the TV program "animal world."

Firecrackers tend to be made with more powerful powder, he said, noting that smaller firecrackers help create a festive atmosphere while bigger ones are "horrible."

Zhao's view was shared by another political advisor Zhu Yinghuang.

"Can we put some limits to the explosive power of firecrackers from production and more restraints on the time and place setting off firecrackers?" asked Zhu, former editor-in-chief of the English newspaper China Daily.

Firecrackers, traditionally believed to scare away demons and bring forth good fortune, were banned by the Beijing authorities in 1994 due to safety and environmental concerns, but the ban was lifted partially in 2006 only during the Spring Festival period.

More than 380,000 boxes of firecrackers had been sold in more than 2,000 outlets in the capital while at least 560 million substandard firecrackers were confiscated before the New Year's eve, which fell on Feb. 17 this year.

Earlier report said that 715 people were injured and one was killed by firecrackers during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing, according to the municipal health authorities.

(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)

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