Ningxia blast killed 31 and injured 7 (pic: CCTV)

Ningxia blast killed 31 and injured 7 (pic: CCTV)

A gas explosion at a barbeque restaurant in China's premier wine region Ningxia left 31 dead and 7 injured.

A gas explosion at a barbeque restaurant in Yinchuan, capital of China’s premier wine region Ningxia, has left 31 dead and 7 injured on the eve of major Chinese holiday, prompting local government to launch a month-long safety campaign.  

The explosion at about 9pm local time on Wednesday took place at the Fuyang Barbecue Restaurant in a residential area of downtown Yinchuan, just before China’s Dragon Boat Festival where many families and friends dine out for celebration.

The severity of the incident prompted President Xi Jinping, who urged all-out efforts to identify and address hidden dangers. In response, the local government in Yinchuan initiated a comprehensive safety campaign targeting gas usage, hazardous chemicals in restaurants, as well as mining and construction sites.

While the initiative aims to prevent similar incidents and prioritize public safety, it is dealing a major hit on the local restaurant and dining industry as all barbecue and night market businesses have been instructed to temporarily suspend their operations.

The mandated pause in operations is expected to have an adverse impact on business revenue and disrupt on-trade business for many of Ningxia’s local wineries where they supply wines locally.

Barbeque restaurants are emblematic of China’s street vendor economy and a favourite of locals in the country’s north-west regions.

Gong Limin, a restaurant owner told CGTV: “The incident was definitely a wake-up call for every restaurant owner. But I hope the suspension doesn’t last long. That would be bad for business.”

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