Book Says Wen Jiabao Ordered Investigation of CCTV Fire (Updated)

Overseas news website Duowei revealed excerpts of a book recently published in Hong Kong about CCTV. In the book, author Li Chunguang (李春光) writes that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a decision in the Executive Committee meeting of the State Council that the CCTV fire incident needed to be further investigated. Previously, Mr. Zhao Huayong (赵化勇), the director of CCTV, attempted to make a deal of early retirement in exchange for calling off an investigation by the Central Discipline Committee, and placed responsibility for the fire on deputy director Li Xiaoming (李晓明) and other lower level officials, according to the book.

The book quotes an internal source saying that the new investigation team was led by a deputy minister of the Ministry of Supervision (监察部), and composed of officials from the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Supervision, SARFT and other state agencies.

The results of any official investigation, if it was carried out, have not been revealed. Meanwhile, the following internal notes, issued by the CCTV Party Committee to all internal workers and organizations, shows the serious impact of the fire on worker morale, not just on company finances. The note was posted on many Chinese online forums, translated by CDT’s Lucy Lin:

On February 10, the Party Committee of CCTV distributed a “Calling Letter” (号召书) to organizations at all levels, Communist Party members, Communist Youth League members, and labor union members in the broadcasting station,to urge everyone to unify their thoughts, raise their spirits, and work together to pass through difficulties.

According to the “Calling Letter,” on February 9, at 8:27 p.m., a fire broke out on the construction site of the Beipei Building, which would have been the new location of the Broadcasting Center of Television and Culture. This is the most serious accident in the history of the development of CCTV, and it created serious negative consequences as well as caused intense psychological shock to all the workers at the broadcasting station. Facing a problem is a test, and an inexhaustible power arises under pressure. With 50 glorious years accumulated in its history of development, with countless major reports in freezing rain and snow in disasters, the Wenchuan earthquake, and the Beijing Olympics, with the passing on and driving of fine traditions and professional upbringing, CCTV and its members understand their individual missions and responsibilities, and hesitation and shrinking away are not options for us!

The “Calling Letter” points out that as the critical and confidential position for the Party and the nation, the symbol of the state machine, and the center of national media, CCTV bears important responsibility given by the Party and the state. According to the requirements issued by the leading party group of the broadcasting station, “With a common purpose, we should raise our spirits and work together to bypass difficulties,” all Communist Party Members, Communist Youth League Members, and labor union members should set an example for their fellow comrades and influence them to stick to their posts, establish their own careers, stay true to their beliefs, and closely observe discipline. They must not believe in rumors or spread rumors, and they should fully ensure the security of publicity and television broadcasting as well as public security and personal safety. They also must complete this important propaganda task and complete all facets of the task thoroughly and solidly, to let the party central committee be at ease and to let all the people in the nation be at ease! Accidents and lessons are inevitable, and we can only grasp onto the present. We should have hope in the efforts and sacrifices of all our comrades of the broadcasting station!

CCTV机关党委向全台党政工团各级组织发出号召——

2月10日,机关党委向全台党政工团各级组织和共产党员、共青团员、工会会员发出《号召书》,号召大家统一思想,振奋精神,齐心协力,共渡难关。

《号召书》说,2月9日20时27分,我台新址在建电视文化中心(北配楼)工地发生火灾。这是中央电视台发展史上最严重的事故,造成了严重的负面影响,也给全台职工带来强烈的心理冲击。困难面前是考验,压力之下是不竭的动力。有着五十年辉煌发展史的积淀,有着抗击雨雪冰冻灾害、汶川大地震、北京奥运会等无数次重大报道的砺炼,有着优良传统和职业素养的传承与激发,中央电视台和央视人深知自己的使命与责任,我们的选项里没有彷徨和退缩!

《号召书》指出,作为党和国家的机要重地、国家机器的象征、国家级媒体的核心阵地,中央电视台担负着党和国家交付的重要职责。全体共产党员、共青团员、工会会员要按照台分党组提出的”统一思想,振奋精神,齐心协力,共渡难关”的要求,以自己的模范行动影响和带动身边的同志,坚守岗位,立足本职,坚定信念,严守纪律,不信谣、不传谣,全力保障宣传安全、播出安全、治安安全和人身安全,坚决完成好重大宣传任务,把各项工作做细、做实、做好,让党中央放心,让全国人民放心!事故和教训是既成事实,我们能把握住的只有当下。冀望于全台同志们的努力与付出!

Update: also from Duowei News, on April 8, 2009:

Huang Yi, the spokesman of China’s National Production Security Supervision Bureau told Xinhua that the State Council already organized an investigation group to investigate the CCTV fire accident.

多维综合/4月8日上午,中国国家安全生产监督总局新闻发言人、煤矿安监总局副局长黄毅在新华网接受访谈时透露,国务院已组织事故调查组,对央视大火进行调查。

Read more from AP, via Wall Street Journal.

April 7, 2009 10:38 PM
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