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Beijing to Launch Emergency Response Reform

Beijing Acting Mayor Wang Qishan Monday announced plans to set up a unified emergency command system for the Chinese capital and to further improve plans and options against any possible emergencies.


Unlike the common practice in some Western nations, China traditionally classifies contingencies into varied categories with different emergency call numbers. For instance, in case of fire explosion, people should dial 119 for help; for medical problems, 120 or 999; and crimes, 110.


China Science and Technology Museum had prepared a short video piece for kids to remember these crucial numbers.


Wang made the remarks in his work report to the Beijing municipal people's government at an annual plenary session attended by deputies to the Beijing municipal people's congress, or its top legislative body, which opened here Monday.


Wang urged his fellow deputies to learn a painful lesson from a bridge stampede, which claimed 37, lives on the city's outskirt areas on Feb. 5.


The acting mayor noted that the safety of people's life was the most lofty and important.


The stampede occurred on a park bridge, in the outskirt Miyun county, which was packed with holiday goers watching brightly lit lanterns on display for the Lantern Festival, which fell on Feb. 5 this year. The tragedy killed 37 people and wounded at least 24.


The investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy is still underway.


Deputies to the congress highly appreciated the municipal government's attitude towards the disaster, which they described as proactive and highly responsible. The report addressed the errors in a practical and realistic way, said some deputies.


(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2004)


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