New Year Mayhem in Beijing

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As most people with an interest in China are probably aware, the 26th marked the first day of the lunar new year, ushering in the year of the Ox. I will make no comments about being gored or being bullish but only note that the fireworks frenzy that grips Chinese at this time of year seems to have been even crazier than ever. This may be because we have just moved into a new compound, four apartment blocks sandwhiched between a couple of old fashioned lowrise Beijing neighborhoods whos residents seem to tak particular relish in causing explosions. The sheer scale (and cost) is hard to convey. Every neighborhood in the city puts out enough firepower to serve as a perfectly respectable July Fourth display, contiuing for hours on end. There are rules about when fireworks can be let off (often ignored) but generally speaking it is a chaotic free-for-all that to my knowledge is unique in this otherwise carefully controlled society. Obviously, somebody high up thinks it’s a good idea to let people blow off steam (and blow themselves up too; I have never seen numbers of deaths and injuries but they must be horrifying) once a year. Here’s a thirty seconds of video fo what ahppened only actually inside out apartment compound. Think of this continuing for hours on end. And from the lines outside the temporary tents set up on street corners to sell fireworks, there’s plenty more to come.