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Factory Fire Kills at Least 38 In Central China

    Factory Fire Kills at Least 38 In Central China
    Last updated: 5 days ago
    Image credit: Chinese State Media [via The Guardian]

    Facts

    • A massive fire at a factory in the city of Anyang in central China's Henan province killed at least 38 people on Monday, injured two others, and left two people missing. [1]
    • The fire broke out on Monday afternoon at a factory of Kaixinda Trading Company, and was brought under control several hours later. Many of the victims are said to have been women manufacturing cotton-made winter clothing and pants. [2]
    • More than 200 firefighters and rescue workers were deployed to the scene in the Wenfeng district, the city's "high-tech zone," where the privately-owned company traded industrial products including chemicals. [3]
    • Chinese media reported that the blaze is believed to have been caused by one or more welders who violated safety regulations, causing sparks to ignite the cotton fabric in the two-story factory building. [4]
    • While the investigation is ongoing, authorities said "criminal suspects" had been taken into custody in connection with the fire at the industrial park. [5]
    • Fatal industrial accidents have been frequent in China in recent years. In March 2019, an explosion at a chemical plant in Yancheng killed 78 people. In 2015, 165 people were killed when explosions destroyed a chemical warehouse in the port of Tianjin. [6]
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    Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    This latest fatal incident underscores China's inability or unwillingness to successfully implement workplace safety standards given a spate of industrial accidents. Added to this corruption and immense cost pressures. Beijing must finally start valuing human life over competitiveness.

    Pro-China narrative

    Those responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable. That said, China is taking great strides to increase workplace safety through strict, long-term measures at the administrative and corporate levels. And it has been successful: within a decade, the number of workplace accidents and fatalities has dropped drastically.

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