https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Karamay_fire "Fire On December 8, 1994, 500 schoolchildren were taken to a special variety performance at a theatre in Karamay at Friendship Theatre (友谊馆). Most were the best and brightest pupils in their classes, aged between 7 and 14. From the accounts of survivors, it appears that spotlights near the stage either short-circuited or fell. The curtain caught fire, then exploded, and fire engulfed the auditorium within a minute or two. Controversy The first few seconds are the most crucial and controversial of the disaster. Survivors insist that a female official immediately stood up and shouted: "Students sit down; don’t move. Let the leaders walk out first (simplified Chinese: 同学们坐下、不要动、让领导先走。; traditional Chinese: 同學們坐下、不要動、讓領導先走。)" (Note: In Chinese, the order: 让领导先走 has since became a popular internet catch phrase, meaning the government officials have priority over ordinary folks in times of emergency). She has since been identified in online articles as Kuang Li (况丽), who was vice-director of the state petroleum company’s local education centre, though there has been no official confirmation of this. The teachers obeyed, and the children remain seated. By the time the about 20 Communist Party officials had filed out through the only opened emergency exit, when all the other exits remained locked, it was too late. Teachers hurried the pupils out of their seats to other exits, only to find that the emergency exit doors were locked, and no one seem to care enough to get them opened. Parents and survivors alleged that Kuang took refuge in a ladies’ cloakroom that could have sheltered 30 people and barred the doors behind her. A 10-year-old boy said "My teacher asked me to run out of the theatre, but when I stood up the hall was smothered in smoke and fire. The power then cut out. People could see nothing. The place was full of crying and shouting.""