China’s president orders safety campaign after explosion at BBQ restaurant Kills 31 People

China's president launched a countrywide safety campaign after a large cooking gas explosion at a northwest BBQ restaurant killed 31 people and injured seven.

By Store-Hour

June 22, 2023, 8:10 PM

CHINA (HONG KONG) – After a large cooking gas explosion at a BBQ restaurant in the northwest of the country killed 31 people and injured seven more on Thursday, the president of China ordered a nationwide safety campaign in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

On a popular boulevard in Yinchuan, headquarters of the predominantly Muslim Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a blast tore through a restaurant at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The online news outlet The Paper quoted a member of the search and rescue squad as saying that many individuals were knocked unconscious by the explosion and had to be dragged out of the store. It was reported that both high school and older pupils were among the victims.

According to Xinhua, a gas tank valve had been damaged for at least an hour before the explosion was triggered by the odor of cooking gas. An employee was replacing the valve at the time of the explosion.

According to Xinhua, after the incident, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered immediate medical attention for the injured and a review of safety procedures. He asked investigators to get to the bottom of what happened as soon as possible so that appropriate legal action may be taken.

Xi also called for campaigns to be launched to increase worker safety in “all types of risks and hidden dangers” across all areas and relevant departments. reports that on Thursday, the deputy party chairman of Yinchuan held a news conference in which he apologized to the city’s residents. Participants at the news conference lowered their heads in respectful silence before it began.

The nine detained individuals include the restaurant’s owner, stockholders, and staff. Xinhua reports that they have also had their assets frozen.

Fuyang Barbecue, a franchise restaurant in Yinchuan known for its grilled skewers and stir-fried food, was apparently the site of the explosion, as reported by The Paper. The first level of the restaurant seated 20 people, while the second level featured private dining rooms and karaoke rooms.

Video posted to Douyin showed people using ladders to reach victims on higher floors. Some of the people waiting for rescue looked to have just sustained minor injuries. Additional footage shows at least six fire trucks responding and some distraught bystanders.

Ningxia Medical University’s General Hospital’s emergency clinic workers confirmed that they were treating victims but would not comment further.

Using just her surname, the Paper quoted a woman named Chen as stating that she was roughly 50 meters (160 feet) away from the restaurant when she heard the explosion. She said that there was a distinct odor of cooking gas and that she saw two waiters emerge from the restaurant, one of whom dropped instantly.

The Ministry of Emergency Management of the central government announced on social media early Thursday that search and rescue operations had concluded at the restaurant and that investigators were trying to discover the cause of the explosion.

The Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration that includes both rice dumpling eating and boat racing with teams of paddlers. Although Han Chinese make up the vast majority of Yinchuan’s population, Hui people, or Chinese Muslims, make about a third of the city.

This type of industrial tragedy occurs frequently in China and is typically blamed on lax government oversight, corruption, cost-cutting by employers, and a lack of staff safety training.

On China’s national holiday of May 1, at least nine people were murdered in an explosion at a petrochemical company, and three more died in a helicopter crash.

In November, 38 people were killed in a fire at an industrial trading company in central China, and in February, 53 miners were killed when a major open-pit coal mine collapsed in the northern area of Inner Mongolia. This led to multiple arrests.

After 173 people, including firefighters and police officers, were murdered in a chemical warehouse explosion in the northern port city of Tianjin in 2015, the central government has promised stricter safety procedures. Several town officials were implicated in the case for allegedly accepting bribes to overlook health and safety problems.

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