A Tale of Two Tragedies

It’s been a bad week in Beijing.  Last weekend, a fire in a two-story building housing mostly migrant workers killed 19 people and injured eight others. In response, the municipal government announced citywide inspections targeting “illegal and unsafe structures,” a move which is as much about clearing out economic migrants as it is about safety.

A few days later, a child abuse scandal at a kindergarten in an upscale neighborhood of Beijing blew up what’s left of the internet in China. Censors rushed to contain angry Weibo and WeChat posts from concerned parents, leading many to wonder if this is just the tip of a particularly terrible iceberg of abusive practices at childcare facilities here.

Two unspeakable tragedies in the same city and yet happening worlds apart.