LATEST NEWS O H & S
February 24, 2010
Trial gets underway in Chinese studio fire
Twenty-three people will go on trial this week for alleged involvement in a deadly fire triggered by an illegal fireworks display that gutted a hotel at the new headquarters of China’s main television network last year, a court official said Feb. 22.
The trial follows a high-level government investigation into the Feb. 9, 2009, blaze at China Central Television’s striking new downtown Beijing complex that killed one firefighter and injured eight others.
The case will be heard at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court, a duty officer at the court said. He refused to give his name, like many Chinese officials.
The suspects have been charged with causing an accident with dangerous goods, a report by the state-run China News Web site said Monday. The charge carries a maximum punishment of seven years’ imprisonment.
Those charged include the former head of CCTV’s construction bureau, Xu Wei, and six other CCTV staffers as well as six employees from two construction companies that were responsible for fire prevention and security during the fireworks display, the report said. It did not identify the other 10.
CCTV had arranged and paid for the Lunar New Year fireworks display. Earlier news reports alleged that Xu had ignored safety warnings and ordered that the powerful pyrotechnics be used.
The 520-foot (159-metre) Mandarin Oriental hotel was only weeks away from opening when the blaze engulfed it.
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