Factory fire kills 34, injures 21 in China
Thirty-four people were killed and 21 others injured in a fire at an unlicensed shoe factory in southeastern China, state media reported on Monday.
The fire at the workshop, located near Putian city in Fujian province, broke out at 9:50 pm (1350 GMT) on Sunday and was extinguished an hour later, the Xinhua news agency said.
Safety and law enforcement officials have launched an investigation to determine what caused the blaze, according to the agency.
Coastal Fujian province is home to one of China's densest concentrations of sweatshops, staffed by migrant workers who produce relatively simple products for world markets in often unregulated conditions.
Local government sources told Xinhua the factory had been operating without a licence.
Officials have little incentive to crack down on such factories as their operations help local economies grow.
Reports about devastating fires that claim large numbers of lives appear regularly in the Chinese media.
Earlier this month, a bus fire in the southwestern Chinese municipality of Chongqing cost the lives of 27 people.
In 2000, 311 people died in a disco fire in the central city of Luoyang. In 1994, more than 300, most of them schoolchildren, lost their lives in a blaze at a movie theatre in northwest China's Xinjiang region.