采访/顾晓华、陈汉 编辑/尚燕 后制/钟元
How to Treat Survivors After Harbin Warehouse Fire
A big warehouse fire in Harbin was put out few days ago,
but have the hundreds of evacuated residents
been well provided for?
Is aid being offered to surrounding businesses
which suffered heavy losses?
Will the families of the five firefighter victims
each only get 20,000 yuan subsidies?
With these questions, we interviewed
the affected businesses, and commentators.
According to Chinese mainland media reports on Jan 6th,
the evacuated residents in the Daowai District
of Harbin City during the fire disaster on January 2nd
amount to 752 households and 2,731 people.
Some residents were not evacuated from collapsed buildings,
but due to the impact of the fire, the safety
of their apartments has become a problem,
but they still have to pay monthly home mortgage loans.
In addition, there is a local street close to the site of the fire
with businesses trading in kitchen stuff.
Hundreds of kitchen equipment and hotel suppliers are
operating on the street, and most of the businesses are
from other provinces.
They all suffered heavy losses because of the fire.
Hotel supply business owner Mr. Cai:
“All our warehouses are burned,
that is nearly 200 square meters on two floors.
A few million RMB of stuff inside the floors is gone."
Chinese media reported that the Daowai District
Government has set up a special fund
to pay 2,000 yuan relief monthly
to each affected household as a unit in terms
of a family with three members.
If the family size is more than three people,
then each extra person receives
an additional 500 yuan subsidy.
However, the traders say,
because they are renting the stores, up to now
they have not received subsidies.
Mr Cai: “We rented the building from others.
The Government says to give each household 2,000 RMB
as assistance fund.
Since we rent a house, the fund is not given to us.
The landlord took the money."
The morning of Jan 4th, merchants collectively went
to Daowai District Government seeking help,
but no one cared.
Mr. Cai: “Now we have appealed
to the Harbin Municipal Government,
but they did not care and ignored us.
Many people including local residents and merchants
went there, but we were all driven back."
Because of the risk of further collapse
of those burned and collapsed buildings,
the burned areas have been cordoned off.
Those residents and merchants
whose buildings were not burned are also affected
and they are not allowed to return home
to fetch belongings, daily necessities, and clothes.
In addition, for the 5 firefighters who lost their lives
the Ministry of Public Security, approved on Jan 4th,
payment to each family of a 20,000 yuan pension.
Such a small pension immediately triggered
a public outcry on the Internet.
Many netizens questioned 20,000 yuan as too little,
not enough for one meal for those corrupt officials.
A lot of netizens compared the high-profile funeral
of the Chinese American police Liu Wenjian in New York
with five firefighters in Harbin City,
and concluded that the local authorities are indifferent
and without respect for their lives.
Afterwards, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media
published articles and said on Jan 6th that 20,000 yuan
is an honorary award rather than a true pension.
According to regulations, the so-called
“Martyrs Awards Fund" standard is 30 times
“the disposable income of urban residents per capita"
in the last financial year.
The specific fund for this in 2014 is not yet published,
but according to the 2013 standard, each family
of the firefighter victims could probably
get about 0.8 million RMB.
Human rights defending activist Mr Ma Bo:
“How can they only use money to measure this thing?
The hearts of the victim families will never recover
due to losing their loved ones.
Why did the government raise the fund to 0.8 million
after netizens criticized the original fund as too little?
Will such an amount of 0.8 million RMB be paid
to each of the families? This is still unknown."
The funeral of shot and killed New York policeman Liu Wenjian
was held in the Brooklyn District of New York City
last Sunday (Jan 4th).
Nearly 30,000 police officers from the United States
and many people came to attend the funeral,
and important attendees included the New York City
Mayor Bill de Blasio, and FBI director James Comey
on behalf of President Barack Obama,
a few members of National Congress and Senate,
the New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton
and other officials.
They all visited the funeral parlour to pay tribute
and offer condolences.
Liu Wenjian’s widow Chen Peixia could receive
one hundred percent of her husband’s salary
until her death.
Chinese commentator Mr Zhang Jian:
“An immigrant American police officer’s funeral can
be treated like a state funeral.
This actually explains the respect for human rights
in the United States.
I believe that each family of the five victim firefighters in China
are likely to live in poverty, and no one cares."
According to Chinese media reports, the youngest of the
firefighter victims is Zhao Zilong, who was the only boy
in his family.
In order to make his father feel better, for treating disease
and to reduce the burden on the family,
he chose to quit school when he was 15-years-old.
Afterwards, he worked as a waiter in restaurants
and did some odd jobs at construction sites.
He had just become a firefighter four months ago.
To fight this fire was his first mission
as well as his last.
Interview/guxiaohua Edit/sangyan Post-Production/zhongyuan