There have been two tragic school fires in China in the past week, sparking widespread condemnation of insufficient fire safety precautions. Along with this, there have been complaints about government insensitivity, online censorship, and a lack of media attention. This pattern of events, involving fires, a large number of casualties, unsatisfactory official responses, and little media involvement, has become all too familiar in recent years.
In November 2022, at the height of China’s “zero-COVID” policy, at least 10 people died and nine were injured when
A fire tore through a mostly Uyghur apartment building in Urumqi.
The city of Urumqi in Xinjiang was the site of a major fire incident. Due to the lockdown of the building, the efforts of firefighters and rescuers were hindered, resulting in a delay of several hours and leaving numerous residents trapped in the burning structure.
The implementation of China’s strict “zero-COVID” protocols sparked protests across the country.
The social and political unrest stemmed from oppressive government actions and reached its peak in the year 2022.White Paper Protests6.4 magnitude earthquake in
In 2023, there were two extremely destructive fires: the earthquake measuring 6.4 magnitude.
The fire at Changfeng Hospital in Beijing resulted in the death of at least 29 patients., yet went unreported for hours, and a November 2023
A coal mine company office in Shanxi province was the target of a fire.
The incident resulted in the death of 26 individuals and injuries to 38 others.
It appears that a similar situation is unfolding with the two fires that happened this week. The initial fire happened on January 19 at Ying and Yang. COM
The incident at cai School, a boarding school for elementary students in the rural area of Fangcheng county, Henan province, led to the event known as COM.
Thirteen third-grade boys have passed away.
While they were sleeping in their dormitory, a second fire occurred on January 24th in a structure located in Xinyu city, Jiangxi province.killing 39 people and injuring 9
According to reports, there are still individuals who have not been found or are stuck inside the building. The structure contained a shop on the ground floor, an internet cafe in the basement, and a school for vocational training.
The initial response on the internet to the fire at the Henan dormitory expressed sadness for the 13 young lives lost and dissatisfaction with the lack of information from the government and media about the fire’s specifics and origin.
The hashtag discussing the fire and the number of casualties.
The topic briefly surfaced on Weibo’s trending list, but was swiftly taken down and any conversations about the fire were suppressed by Weibo users. A post by Tsinghua University law professor on Weibo was also censored.Lao Dongyan, who
Criticized the media sources in Henan.
The Henan Fire Department’s official notice about the fire was not republished and there were no interviews or on-site investigations conducted.This is a step beyond mere censorship,” Lao wrote. “It must be a conscious choice, born of internalized habit.” WeChat current affairs blogger “Princess Minmin
I was surprised to discover that there were no news articles about the fire at the dormitory..
The Chinese editors at CDT gathered numerous critical Weibo comments regarding the lack of media coverage on the fire.
(Some notifications and comments about previous fires). Below are some translated comments from the selection:
@hai_da_dewu: If we do not take time to consider the Urumqi fire, similar events will occur again and ultimately those affected will be blamed for not being able to save themselves while those in positions of power will avoid taking responsibility.
@YanXiaoXi_:”Thirteen lives are not even considered worthy of a hashtag.”
@YamanoMigiai_: Meeting after the mountain, human life has no value, journalism is deceased, and only official announcements and propaganda remain.
@sundayliu: Such a major accident didn’t even make the “hot search” list—the invisible hand behind that is really scary. They’ve still got kids singing about being the “Successors of Communism,” but to them, we’re all just slaves whose lives are worthless.
@Global Stock Market: 13 people lost their lives, yet they were not even deemed important enough to be among the top three trending topics. Not a single media source in Henan covered the news. The Henan Fire Department provided a brief, unemotional statement. There was no mention of any investigation or an apology. This disregard for human life is unacceptable.[Chinese]
On January 23, Fangcheng County announced the findings of an initial investigation.
Upon entering the flames, the statement from WeChat bloggers only served to create further inquiries rather than provide clarity.Wei Chunliang and Xiang Dongliang
Two authors, known for their frequent writing on current events, brought up similar concerns about discrepancies in the official statement. Wei Chunliang pointed out that even though some news headlines stated that the Henan government had revealed information about the fire and that seven individuals had been arrested by the police in relation to the incident, there were still puzzling inconsistencies.
The statement did not provide any information about the reason for the fire.
There was no mention or reasoning given for the deaths of certain students and the survival of others.
Wei pondered if the 13 students who tragically perished were already incapacitated and unable to flee, as reported by firefighters who discovered them on their beds.
In a previous post, the circumstances surrounding the boys’ deaths were described as suspicious.
Xiang Dongliang raised doubts about the accuracy of the official declaration., particularly the claims that the dormitory door was “always open” and that a head teacher lived in the dormitory.
Shen Maohua, a journalist and book reviewer who blogs as “Wei Zhou,” published
A WeChat post discussing the importance of implementing strict measures to prevent future devastating fires.. “
The author expressed that the 13 families affected by this tragedy are going through a devastating time. Instead of just offering sympathy, it is important for us to take responsibility and deeply contemplate on our actions. If we can genuinely learn from our mistakes this time, the loss of those 13 children will not be in vain.