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China orders new safety checks of cultural venues after deadly club fire
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16:34, September 22, 2008

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</bChina's cultural ministry on Monday ordered a national overhaul of the safety of cultural and performance facilities, following a nightclub fire over the weekend that left at least 43 dead.

The ministry issued a circular urging an immediate, thorough check of all performance venues and profit-oriented performances, internet cafes and galleries, directing its local offices to uncover all hidden problems and safety loopholes.

Unlicensed cultural facilities must be registered and closed inline with the law, it said.

It told its local offices to blacklist problematic facilities and coordinate with work safety departments to follow up until the problems were resolved.

Training programs should also be organized to enhance business operators' safety awareness, it said.

The fire, which left 43 people dead and 88 injured, broke out Saturday night at the "King of the Dancers" club in south China's Shenzhen city, when more than 300 people were watching a performance in a hall.

An initial investigation by the police showed that fireworks set off during the performance ignited the flammable material in the ceiling. The fire then spread quickly across 150 square meters.

The club had been operating without a business license, according to the preliminary investigation.

Source: Xinhua

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