Ah! Fire, Fire!
I’ve done a few posts on these buildings, and it came as a shock to me today, 8 days after it happened, that there had been a huge fire, and one of the buildings in the complex, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, completely burned out!
This wiki page explains everything better than me, but see below anyway!
Images and video instantly got out thanks to individuals using Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc…, but if you were in China the next day looking for news online or over the airwaves, you were outta luck. The LA Times had a good article about it.
The fire started when fireworks somehow lit the building on fire. Fireworks are illegal in Beijing except during special festivals, such as that night, the final night of the Spring Festival / Chinese New Year celebrations.
The CCTV (China Central Television) is THE state run television service in China, and has long been seen as a large agent in spreading the Chinese government propaganda. This is the reason you see comments like the one below:
“As long as there aren’t any injuries, let it burn. They don’t need so many buildings [in]the first place,” wrote one typical anonymous poster at the popular news portal Sohu.com. “CCTV enjoys too much luxury already. They will always have enough buildings, even though this building is down.”
Since Chinese media outlets weren’t allowed to show/report any of what was going on, the chinese netizens took it upon themselves to show the world what was happening. Of course I am noting it because it is hilarious. You’ll see.
Only one person, a firefighter, lost their life in this catastrophe. They are holding 8 men who arranged the fireworks display, without obtaining a permit first. Ouch!
There was a rumor that the fancy metal exterior of the building, a zinc and titanium alloy, could be to blame as well.