Fireworks kill one during Chinese New Year celebrations in Beijing

One person died and 270 others were injured in China's capital while setting off fireworks as part of Lunar New Year celebrations, state media said Monday.

Authorities blamed most of the incidents on poorly made fireworks, which are traditionally ignited to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.

A 25-year-old man suffered head injuries on Saturday, New Year's eve, and died early Sunday, the Xinhua News Agency said. Two other men had to have eyeballs removed, it said.

Under pressure from the public, Beijing and some other Chinese cities eased a decade-old ban on fireworks last year, letting people take part in the ancient New Year tradition, the AP says.

While regulations limit fireworks to certain parts of the capital, and to a half-hour period on New Year's eve, few people seemed to follow the rules.

Beijing "saw a sharp inflow of substandard firecrackers, despite supervision efforts," Xinhua quoted an official with the city's fireworks office as saying.

The city confiscated 560 million substandard firecrackers - more than four times the number last year, the official said.

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