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People's Daily Online>>China Society

China to toughen accountability for fires

(Xinhua)

08:41, February 07, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- China will hold the country's municipal- or provincial-level officials accountable for severe fire-related accidents, according to a State Council circular posted on the government's web portal (www.gov.cn) on Monday.

"When major fire accidents occur, responsible leaders in, or heads of, the municipal government will be held accountable. If an accident has grave consequences or a nasty social impact, responsible leaders in the provincial government will be held accountable," according to the circular.

The circular also specified conditions for when leaders of community-level governments, public security authorities and fire departments, as well as other organizations, will be held accountable.

Along with rapid social and economic development, chances of fire accidents have increased and prevention has been made more difficult, according to the circular.

The beefed up policy made its debut at a time when a deadly high-rise fire was still fresh in the public's memory.

On Nov. 15, 2010, a fire on Jiaozhou Road in Shanghai's Jing'an district destroyed a 28-story building that was being renovated, leaving 58 dead and 71 others injured. The blaze started when sparks from welding torches ignited nylon netting and scaffolding.

A district official in charge of construction was sentenced to 16 years in jail for abuse of authority and corruption. Twenty-five others, including government officials involved in construction, also received criminal punishments, while 28 people were handed disciplinary punishments, according to a court verdict in 2011.

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