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A winter's tale of loss and learning

By Cao Yin and Cui Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-01 08:37

A winter's tale of loss and learning

Beijing Party Chief Cai Qi (second left) joins an inspection team to check for safety hazards inside an apartment building on Nov 25. [Wu Yibin/For China Daily]

Sun Jiuwen, a professor with Renmin University of China's School of Economics, said the Jufuyuan fire may have been an accident, but "it exposed a long-standing safety problem that is common in a developing city".

Migrant workers make a major contribution to a city's development, but they also flock to crowded and unsafe places, where rent is cheap, to save as much of their salary as possible, he explained.

"It can be seen as a conflict between urban development and people, and it is a problem that we've failed to solve in a timely manner," Sun said, adding that cleanup campaigns are inevitable as a city improves its management.

"Many people say the government should have predicted such an accident (the Jufuyuan blaze) and taken measures beforehand, but I think that's in a perfect world," he said.

"It's not a simple problem of fire accidents, but a complicated issue that involves various industries and different people. To solve it will take time."

Cai said on Monday the capital will draft a three-year plan to fundamentally solve the safety problems.

Yuan said he and his wife are still looking for a cheap and safe apartment in Beijing, and they have no plans to leave anytime soon.

"I just hope the government can think more about us in the future," he said. "I've been living in this city for 12 years. Beijing is my home."

Jiang Chenglong and Wang Keju contributed to this story.

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