The Chinese have a tradition of welcoming Chinese New Year by setting off firecrackers and fireworks, in the belief that the noise will scare away evil spirits and bad luck.
But this year, much of the "scaring" during the festive period, also known as the Spring Festival, is taking place earlier - and under the stern gaze of the police.
To ensure a safer festival, the authorities have been confiscating and destroying illegal fireworks, as in Shenyang, Liaoning province (left), last Friday.
Illegal fireworks have led to injuries, deaths and the destruction of property. Certainly not the right way to start the celebrations.