Fire Kills 39 At Hospital, Culprit Gets Away With It – Li Xinde

Another classic from citizen journalist Li Xinde, translated by CDT:

A late 2005 fire killed 39 patients and staffers at Liaoyuan City (ËæΩÊ∫êÂ∏Ç)’s Central Hospital, but people say the real culprit, the hospital president, is escaping responsibility, reportedly under the cover of some higher-up officials in Liaoning Province.

The fire was triggered by sparks after a recent renovation at the switchboard room at the hospital. And it was discovered that a lot of the materials and cables used in the retrofit were shoddy products. Decorative straps, used in a recent building renovation, were supposed to be flame retardant but they were indeed flammable (photo).

(photos: hospital on fire and flammable decorative materials used in renovation, via

A scapegoat, a deputy manager at a Hebei electricity cable factory, has been tried and is still behind bars without a verdict for longer than should be allowed. The hospital president, who oversaw all the revonation projects in the hospital and lined his own pocket through the deals, secured himself a probation under medical pretexts even though in major incidents like this he wasn’t supposed to qualify for a probation. His wife once withdrew 3 million yuan in a single day from their bank to “work” around the local officials for him. People say he pocketed at least 30 million yuan through capital projects, drugs and medical equipment purchases.

The local court, which heard the case, dared not hand out a verdict, but handed over the suit to the Supreme Court in Beijing. The pressure, local court says, came from the provincial court, which doesn’t want to punish the hospital president and concludes the scapegoat should be heavily punished. The reason may well be that the hospital boss had a good relationship with the wife of a former Liaoyuan party secretary, who is now an official in the provincial government. Or it could be more than this. [Full Text in Chinese]



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