Beijing celebrates Chinese New Year 2016
China sees in the Lunar New Year with a traditional bell-ringing ceremony in Beijing, accompanied by fireworks.
Much of China’s population can expect sub-standard sleep after the country starts ringing in the Year of the Monkey.
The rat-a-tat snaps of firecrackers, whistling rockets and mortar-like fireworks with possibly enough gunpowder to down a small aircraft will make sure of that.
But whisper it quietly: the skies this year might not be as spectacular, nor the streets so loud.
In Beijing, fireworks sales are down by a half this year after already falling a third in 2015.
The central city of Zhengzhou is one of five provincial capitals outlawing firecrackers altogether.
Shanghai is also banning them in the city center but, in a nod to marriage customs, handing out free electronic ones to newlyweds.
Whether it’s due to expanding municipal restrictions, pollution concerns, a sagging economy or simply fading interest in a country that prides itself on having invented gunpowder, there’s a growing sense, at least among Chinese urbanites, that setting firecrackers just isn’t the essential tradition it used to be.
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