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Chinese enjoy frugal and green Spring Festival


13:18, February 17, 2013

With fewer fireworks being set off and not as many feasts, "frugal" and "green" are two words to describe the seven-day Chinese Spring Festival holiday.

Managers of "HoyoBanquet", a luxury hotel in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, were unhappy with the holiday as many banquet orders that had been booked months ago were canceled before the festival.

A similar situation happened in Liuzhou Hotel, a five-star establishment often used for government receptions in the autonomous region's second largest city of Liuzhou.

"Consumption of abalone, lobsters, Moutai liquor and imported wines dropped drastically during the holiday," said a hotel dining department executive, on condition of anonymity.

The Spring Festival, which fell on Feb. 10 this year, is traditionally a time for family reunions. Businesses usually experience a boom during the period as people swarm to shops and restaurants.

However, amid the sales, luxurious restaurants saw business dwindle, partly due to a nation-wide campaign against extravagance and a call for a more frugal lifestyle.

Data showed that high-end restaurants in the better-off Zhejiang Province in east China saw business revenue decline at least 20 percent.

Many people also responded to the central government's call and decided to have a frugal and healthy holiday.

Shen Juan, 37, a native of Nanjing City in east China's Jiangsu Province, chose to have his family reunion dinner at home, rather than at a five-star hotel as he did last year.

Some gift recovery stores in Shanghai also experienced sluggish business.

"The central government called for frugality and strict supervision of extravagant consumption by officials. Business has been less than half of what it was last year," said Lu Qiang, owner of a gift recovery store in downtown Shanghai.

"We collected 30 to 40 bottles of Moutao Liquor and 40 to 50 cartons of Chunghwa cigarettes every day during the holiday in recent years," said Lu.

A bottle of Feitian Moutai sells for 1,599 yuan (254.6 U.S. dollars) on, a leading Chinese e-commerce website. A carton of Chunghwa cigarettes retails for 485 yuan in Merrymart, a supermarket in Beijing.

The sales of fireworks, which are an integral part of the Chinese Lunar New Year, were also affected during the holiday with people's rising awareness of environmental protection as many cities had been shrouded in smog for long periods last month.

A fireworks sales store in Bingzou North Road of Taiyuan City in north China's Shanxi Province, saw sales drop by 30 percent in the past seven days compared with last year.

Many government institutions and enterprises canceled their budgets for fireworks in response to central government's call for frugality, said Han Ming, a store owner who has run his business for 10 years.

However, electronic fireworks gained popularity.

Statistics from, China's biggest e-commerce website, showed that the sales volume for electronic fireworks in the week before the festival was up by 271.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Chinese capital city of Beijing saw the sale of fireworks and the number of people injured due to them fall significantly during this year's Spring Festival holiday.

A total of 313,000 cartons of fireworks were sold from Feb. 9, the Lunar New Year's Eve to Feb. 14. This is down 45 percent from the 564,000 cartons sold during the same period last year, according to Beijing municipal government statistics on Friday.

Sanitation workers in Beijing have cleared 5,283 tonnes of fireworks refuse during the holiday, dropping by 332 tonnes from the same period last year, according to official statistics.

Lu Xiaobo, a technician of Nanjing municipal environment monitoring center, said the air quality during the holiday was better than last year.

The average density of PM10 on Thursday evening, the fifth day of the first lunar month, was 186 micrograms per cubic meter in Nanjing, about 70 percent lower than that recorded during the same period last year, according to meteorological data.

The fifth day of the first lunar month is also called "powu" in Chinese, a day for setting off firecrackers to eliminate misfortune for the coming year

Most of the PM2.5 during the holiday was due to fireworks, which release sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, smoke and carbon particles after ignition, said Zhu Lizhong, director of the Environmental Pollution Control Institute with the Zhejiang University.

According to Ye Qing, a professor with the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, advocating frugality in society is of practical significance in China as the country still has more than 100 million poor people living in poverty.

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