China: Restaurant Explosion Kills Dozens

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The Facts

  • At least 31 people were killed and seven injured in a gas explosion at a barbecue restaurant in the city of Yinchuan in northwestern China on Wednesday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

  • The blast was reportedly triggered by a liquefied petroleum gas leak as people gathered for the opening of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival on the busy street in the capital of the traditionally Muslim Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, where the restaurant is located.

The Spin

Narrative A

Tragic accidents caused by gas and chemical explosions are anything but uncommon in China, and it was only a matter of time before another such tragic incident occurred. Time and again, people lose their lives because profit is placed above safety measures and human lives. To set an example, all barbecue restaurants in China should be closed and rectified following rigorous safety inspections. The Chinese government must not allow such an avoidable tragedy to happen again.

Narrative B

It's true that this fatal accident is just the latest in a series of similar recent incidents. However, it's also true that workplace safety in China has improved in recent years, with local governments ordering more frequent inspections of restaurants and their gas supplies. The deadly explosion will likely prompt authorities to take a closer look at China's booming barbecue restaurant industry. Even if this may not be enough to prevent such tragic incidents, China is on the right track.

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