Shanghai officials jailed over deadly high-rise fire

August 02, 2011

Four former Shanghai city officials have been jailed for up to 16 years in connection with a fire in a high-rise block of flats that killed 58 people.

The men, including the local government head of construction, were convicted of abuse of power and corruption.

Most of those killed were residents of the building, which was being renovated when fire engulfed it on November, 2010.

The disaster became a focus of public anger over how such an incident could occur in such a modern city.

In total, 26 people have been convicted of charges relating to the fire. Twenty-two private construction company workers were earlier convicted of "serious negligence of duty".

The blaze was initially blamed on careless unlicensed welders setting alight netting around the 28-story building.

The incident raised questions about how corrupt relationships between senior figures in the construction companies and in government bodies might have contributed to the lack of safety on site.

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