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24 face trial for high-rise building blaze

[ 2011-03-15 10:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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Twenty-four people will soon face prosecution for the part they are suspected of playing in a blaze that killed 58 Shanghai residents last year, the prosecutor-general of the city has said.

Chen Xu, head of Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate, said local prosecutors recently investigated and arrested eight suspects on charges of bribery and abuse of power.

That crackdown came not long after the same authorities had approved the arrest of 16 people suspected of responsibility in the fire, which took place on Nov 15.

The disaster in Shanghai's Jing'an district, which claimed 58 lives and left 71 residents injured, was caused by unlicensed welders who ignited nylon nets hung outside a scaffolding on which they were perched while renovating a high-rise apartment building, according to an initial report.

Further investigation found that the construction company had started work on the project even though it had failed several annual safety checks and had bribed local construction authorities to win construction contracts.

The 24 suspects in the case consist of local government officials, leaders in construction companies and construction supervisors, as well as the workers who are believed to have caused the fire by using improper procedures on the job.

The suspects will soon be prosecuted, Chen said in an online interview.

The residents who survived the blaze, meanwhile, have been told they will receive government compensation by a scheduled date. But they have expressed dissatisfaction with the offer, saying it is too vague.

Wang Hong, whose mother and wife died in the fire, said he is waiting for the government to issue a schedule for its plan to place values on property found inside the burnt out apartment. The resulting values will be used as the basis for government's offers of compensation.

A group consisting of victims of the blaze and their friends and relatives - more than 80 people in total - have signed a note calling for more details to be added to the restitution plan. They also are seeking to negotiate further over the proposed governmental compensation, according to Wang.

The State Council's investigation team is working on the case.


1. Which district did the fire take place in?

2. Who is being prosecuted?

3. Why are those injured in the blaze unhappy?


1. Jing’An.

2. Local officials, welders, construction supervisors.

3. They have not received compensation yet.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

24 face trial for high-rise building blaze

24 face trial for high-rise building blaze

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.