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Script of CCTV Special Program - Fireworks: Playing it safe

01-21-2012 14:30 BJT

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Chinese New Year is of course the biggest and most important holiday in China and key to those festivities are fireworks. But during last year’s Spring Festival period, the tradition left over 500 people injured in Beijing. CCTV’s reporter Teresa Tang brings you an in-depth, behind the scenes look examining issues of safety around this explosive industry.

Chinese New Year is of course the biggest and most important holiday in China and key to those festivities are fireworks. But it's a tradition that leaves hundreds of people injured every year. So are sales being made at the expense of safety? CCTV reporters brings you an in-depth, behind the scenes look examining issues of safety around this explosive industry.

Setting fireworks a tradition for Chinese to celebrate the Spring Festival

You have to see it to believe it. But even those who have often can’t describe it because it’s like nothing else on earth. Spring Festival celebrations have been compared to war zones – hours of non stop explosives creating a mind numbing canopy of screeching lights and smoke. For one night a year, sleep is harder to come by after the sun goes down. This is a country in celebration - and wants the whole world to know.

90% of the world's fireworks are produced in China and come mainly from this modest county in the southern province of Hunan. The famous Liuyang River ribbons through the region, home to over 950 factories. 70% of Liuyang's economy was once entirely supported by the fireworks industry. Monuments and a fireworks street pay homage to their local specialty.

The roaring welcome to the Lunar New Year is a tradition that has echoed through generations. And one that many make extra efforts to prepare for.

The suspense is building, along with business. A few days before the spring festival, fireworks shops like these mushroom across Beijing. Eager customers ready to open their wallets to welcome a new year.

A child grabs firework and said: This one.

Reporter asks: Why?

He answers: Because it’s the smallest one.

His mother said: Every year I spend thousands of yuan, mostly for my child.

Over the last few decades more Chinese have come into newfound wealth than ever before, meaning those wallets have become bigger.

For people around the world this was the show that really left an impression.

The $1.3 million Beijing Olympic pyrotechnic performance in 2008 showcased the country’s firepower like never before.

China the birthplace of fireworks

China is widely recognized as the birthplace of fireworks. The earliest prototypes were used as weapons - bamboo shoots containing a simple mixture of black gunpowder.

Before long, explosives were embraced by the masses who believed igniting them would ward off evil spirits, and attract the Gods. But unlike some Chinese traditions that have waned in popularity, this one has flourished with the availability of consumer fireworks.

Driven by market demands, fireworks today are big, flashy and powerful – all designed to giver consumers the biggest bang for their buck. And when they look like this, it’s easy to think they’re harmless.

But think again.

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