At precisely 12:01 on Sunday morning when the Lunar New Year officially ushers in the Year of the Dog, Li Mingying intends to be cowering in her small apartment several blocks from Tiananmen Square. It is at that moment that 12 years of pent-up pyrotechnic frustration will be unleashed here in the national capital.
“I’m afraid I’ll be injured,” said Li, who is 72. “I’m calling some children and telling them not to buy fireworks.”
Fat chance. This year, Beijing becomes the latest Chinese city to rescind a ban on fireworks during the Lunar New Year, the country’s most revered holiday. The bans were instituted because of concerns about injuries, noise, fire and pollution, but public demand has prompted their repeal.