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Beijing Party chief hits nail on the head

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-29 08:30

THE NOV 18 FIRE at a cold storage basement in a building in Beijing's Daxing district, which claimed 19 lives, was reportedly caused by faulty wiring and flammable materials. After an investigation, 20 people have been detained by the police. Beijing Daily commented on Tuesday:

The building, which housed a number of workshops and cubicles, as well as the cold storage basement, was rife with safety hazards. The subsequent citywide investigation of such buildings suggests that many of them are simultaneously used for storage, production and housing, and many have been found to have safety risks, from combustible materials in workers' dormitories to overstaffed, ill-maintained workshops-cum-dormitories.

Fire risks like these mean that even a tiny spark could result in a fatal blaze. Illegally built warehouses and apartments must be either demolished or renovated so that they meet safety standards.

The "versatile" warehouses and apartments built by some enterprises and landlords put the lives of many on the line in pursuit of profits.

The Beijing authorities are right to carry out a campaign to root out safety hazards. The so-called consistent demand for low-budget accommodation and flexible-use factory compounds is no excuse for ignoring the safety codes for buildings. Immediate actions must be taken to knock down or shutter hazardous buildings and hold those running them accountable.

Cai Qi, Party chief of Beijing, on Monday urged the authorities to give assistance to the affected tenants and workers, many of whom risk losing their jobs as well as their places to live. He also stressed the need to carry out the campaign with more patience and in a better way. It is hoped that his words will be heeded.

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