Wandering China

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That’s unlucky: Fireworks wreak havoc in China [The Age]


6,000 fires in the first 32 hours of the Chinese New Year – fireworks have been synonymous with Chinese-ness since time immemorial. Perhaps it is natural that as China becomes more prosperous, the fireworks become more elaborate with a higher chance of collateral damage. It is important however to note that this article also highlighted –  Firemen were investigating the cause of the blaze, while locals speculated that it was caused by fireworks, Xinhua news agency reported. So, the use of speculation to head this article does feel a little bit iffy.

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That’s unlucky: Fireworks wreak havoc in China
Source – The Age, published February 8, 2011

 

Workers at a restaurant enjoy fireworks to celebrate the fifth day of the Chinese New Year in Beijing. Photo: AP

Fires engulfed a 1,000 year-old temple and a historic ancient village in China as Lunar New Year fireworks sparked thousands of blazes across the country, state press said Tuesday.

Parts of the ancient Fahai Temple, built in 945 in southeast China’s Fujian province, were destroyed by a fire that started early Monday morning, the China News Service reported.

Nearly 150 fire fighters fought the blaze, the report said. No fatalities or casualties were reported, while a building containing most of the temple’s ancient Buddhist texts was unharmed.

Firemen were investigating the cause of the blaze, while locals speculated that it was caused by fireworks, Xinhua news agency reported.

Fireworks are lit in large numbers in China during the Lunar festival, a tradition believed to scare evil spirits from entering the new year.

Nearly 6,000 fires broke out in China in the first 32 hours of the Lunar New Year that began February 3, with most caused by fireworks, the China Daily said Monday, citing the public security ministry.

Also early Monday a fire engulfed Ciqikou ancient village in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, the Chongqing Daily said.

The blaze destroyed souvenir and snack shops in the village, an ancient pottery manufacturing centre and currently a tourist attraction, the report said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, reports said.

Both fires began early Monday, the fifth day of the Lunar New Year and traditionally a time for setting off fireworks in the hope of finding wealth in the new year.

On Thursday last week, fireworks touched off a blaze that engulfed a high-rise hotel in Shenyang city, the provincial capital of northeast China’s Liaoning province, state media said

No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out shortly after midnight at the three-building Dynasty Wanxin complex, which included a five-star hotel, Xinhua news agency said.

In 2009, a Lunar New Year blaze sparked by an illegal fireworks display engulfed a luxury hotel being built inside the state TV headquarters complex in Beijing, killing a firefighter and causing a public relations mess for China Central Television.

A former top television executive at CCTV, one of the Communist Party’s chief propaganda arms, was jailed for seven years for his role in causing the blaze.

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Filed under: Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Lifestyle, Social, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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