Migrant workers in China

Investigators target Beijing officials over deadly fire and kindergarten furore

Two cadres suspended in Daxing, where 19 people were killed nearly two weeks ago

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 10:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 11:07pm

Authorities in Beijing are investigating more than a dozen officials over their roles in a deadly fire and a kindergarten child abuse case, two scandals that have rattled the capital in the last fortnight.

In the township of Xihongmen in Beijing’s southern Daxing district, two officials had been suspended from their jobs while 10 others were subject to a disciplinary investigation over a blaze in a residential complex that killed 19 people on November 18, state media reported on Wednesday.

A deputy district chief has also been suspended from his job for failing to enforce safety checks, while the district’s former No 2 official resigned on Wednesday.

Eight people were also under arrest in relation to the fire, Xinhua reported.

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In the eastern district of Chaoyang, the Communist Party was investigating two officials at an education watchdog over alleged “lack of supervision over private education institutions” amid claims of child abuse at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in the district.

A section head overseeing private schools in the area was also accused of failing in his job responsibilities and was being investigated, the report said.

Beijing police have already detained a 22-year-old teacher at the preschool for allegedly pricking children with sewing needles to discipline them.

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Two people have also been accused of spreading false online rumours of abuse at the kindergarten.

On Monday, Beijing party chief Cai Qi told a meeting on safety that the deadly fire and allegations of child abuse had both “touched the bottom line of the capital’s safety and stability”.

The two events have prompted a rare public outburst of fury towards the government. Much of the criticism has been directed at the capital’s 40-day safety campaign launched in response to the fire, a crackdown that has forced tens of thousands of migrant workers to leave the city.