wenty-nine people died after a village restaurant collapsed on August 29 in North China’s Shanxi Province. The accident took place at around 9:40am in the morning at Juxian Restaurant in Chenzhuang Village, Xiangfen County, in the province’s southwest. Villagers were gathering for a banquet to celebrate the 80th birthday of a village resident, who survived the collapse as he was waiting outside to greet guests. The man, whose wife died in the accident, kneeled down and apologized for the tragedy.
The collapse also left 28 injured, including seven in severe condition. Police detained restaurant owner Qi Jianhua under suspicion of negligently endangering public safety.
The tragedy has also put in the spotlight the safety of privately built rural constructions, which often involve improper design, inadequate workmanship, substandard materials and lack of supervision. Media reports claim the collapsed structure was built with pre-fabricated panels, a cheap but non-quakeproof material that has been phased out from new buildings since the 2000s.
Shanxi provincial government has set up an investigation task force to look into the cause of the collapse, a probe directly overseen by the State Council’s Work Safety Committee. The authority is also rolling out a province-wide safety inspection of buildings that house large gatherings.