Chinese students’ fairy light fantasy ends in fire safety lesson

  • Online video of decorated dorm room gets frosty response from authorities
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 11:14pm

Three Chinese postgraduate students spent nearly 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) decorating their room with fairy lights but failed to impress fire safety authorities as much as the online community.

Just one day after a video of their bedroom became popular online the young women were forced to take down some of their decorations.

The master’s students, from Jiangxi Normal University in southeast China, decorated their shared dorm room with strings of lights hanging from the ceiling and plain walls, framing study tables, weaving around mirrors and bed frames, and even winding around the legs of chairs.

They had also sewn tiny light bulbs individually to the curtains hanging next to their beds.

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“We believe we should add ceremonial elements into our daily lives. We have decorated it so nicely that this place feels as warm as home to us,” Zhang Jingling, one of the students, said in the video, which was published online on Friday.

The young women, who each spent more than 3000 yuan on the decorations, said they had earned the money through tutoring and part-time teaching.

“It looks like we are using a lot of electronic equipment and lighting but actually, apart from turning them on in our leisure time, most of the time we just leave them there,” Lo Zhengqi, another of the students, said.

“All the things we use are in accordance with school regulations, and do not present any safety risk.”

However, her statement was challenged by the Jiangxi fire department on its official Weibo page, China’s version of Twitter.

“No safety risks? Student dorms are classified as a densely populated area and, according to the country’s fire safety regulations, it is prohibited to pull electrical wiring or install additional electrical equipment without permission.”

The provincial department also tagged the official accounts of a local fire force and the university, urging them to conduct safety checks.

Around 1½ hours later, the university had “taken down [equipment]”, according to Shanghai-based online media portal Thepaper.cn. No further details were provided.

After the safety checks were carried out, China’s national fire and rescue department quoted the case on its official Weibo account, saying “even fairies need to have fire safety awareness”.