A second fire claims five more lives as turmoil continues in Beijing


Less than a month after a devastating fire in a southern Beijing migrant neighborhood led to ruthless eviction, and then protests, a second fire has claimed five lives, this time in Chaoyang District’s Shibalidian township, according to SCMP. The blaze was apparently caused by “two electric bikes plugged into a home-made wiring system.” Meanwhile, the political controversy over migrant evictions only grows:

  • Beijing Party chief Cai Qi 蔡奇 “seems to have gone into damage-control mode,” Caixin reports, as he appeared on television meeting with local workers, including delivery workers and street cleaners.
  • Hua Yong 华涌, the artist who has documented the devastation and despair of the evictions via Twitter and YouTube, told the New York Times (paywall) that the police attempted to arrest him, and that he was forced to flee Beijing with the help of friends.
  • The cycle of fire, eviction, and turmoil may only continue, the China Labour Bulletin reports, as these fires are just two of “15,000 workplace fires in the first ten months of 2017,” and business owners continue to “routinely ignore or circumvent demands from government officials to fix fire hazards and introduce fire safety measures.”