Beijing helps jobless from safety campaign

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Beijing helps jobless from safety campaign People check job postings at a job fair in Xihongmen, Daxing district, in Beijing on Monday. [Zou Hong/China Daily]

Beijing's top Party official said the city will help people affected by a sweeping safety campaign in the wake of a deadly fire with jobs and lodging.

The fire in the city's Daxing district broke out in a building with over 400 residents in the village of Xinjian in Xihongmen township on Nov 18. Nineteen people were killed and eight injured.

After the fire, the city government launched a 40-day citywide campaign aimed primarily at eliminating fire hazards and other safety problems in crowded apartments and warehouses that serve as storage areas, workshops or worker living space.

Cai Qi, Party chief of Beijing, said in a Monday meeting that removing all fire hazards takes time and cannot be accomplished within a short period, Beijing Daily reported. He also said it is necessary to draft a three-year plan to fundamentally solve the problem.

Cai visited the site of the accident three times in recent days, Beijing Daily said. Calling the accident a "lesson paid with blood", he said it is imperative to carry out a campaign to root out safety hazards.

He also visited surrounding companies that were affected, asking them about how workers were resettled.

While speaking with local officials in Xihongmen, Cai urged them to care for people affected and try their best to arrange new jobs and places to stay. Cai urged officials to carry out the campaign with more "patience and humanistic care" and "better methods".

On Monday, a job fair was held in Xihongmen to offer opportunities to people who lost their jobs when their employers were told to shut down unsafe factories or warehouses. Human resources departments will organize more job fairs in Xihongmen to help workers in the area to find new jobs, he said.

Also on Monday, Beijing police announced that the fire was caused by an electrical fault, ruling out arson. Twenty people suspected of having liability for the conditions that led to the fire have been detained, they said.

The two-and three-story building with a basement housed The Amazon effect — as the trend is being dubbed — has savvy Chinese seeking property in an area that’s just 15 minutes from Manhattan by subway and has a waterfront that faces the East Riverworkshops and living spaces and was rife with safety hazards, officials say. A person identified only by the surname Fan began building the structure in 2002. Fan began installing a refrigeration facility in the basement in March, and it was undergoing testing. The blaze was traced to a faulty wire in a wall built with flammable material. Fan was among those detained, police said.

At Monday's fair, over 508 vacancies including driver, guard and cleaner were offered by 27 companies, the township government said.

Many warehouses in Xihongmen failed fire and safety assessments and were closed. The fairs are mainly for those who became unemployed as a result, said Chen Yongqiang, deputy head of the township.

"For migrant workers who have decided not to work in Beijing anymore, we will provide temporary accommodation and train or bus tickets to go home," Chen said.

"We prefer the employers taking part in the job fair provide accommodation for employees," said Li Hualong, deputy head of the Daxing district human resource and social security bureau.

Zhao Chuanxin, 28, who had worked and lived in a small clothing workshop in Xinjian where the fire happened, found a job at the fair. He will start working asThe data show that half of the growth in foreign language speakers since 2010 is among those born in the US a driver soon with meals and accommodation provided.

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