The Boston Globe has a fantastic photo site called The Big Picture, which highlights some of the day's best photos from around the world. On February 11, they did a spread on China's Lantern Festival, with fantastic photos from all over China, including photos of the burning building in Beijing.
This fire was the melding of two great Chinese loves: fireworks and ignoring regulations. Some reports indicated that the police tried to tell them (officials at CCTV, the government TV network) that they needed a permit for their show. I'm guessing the response was simply 'WE ARE CCTV!!' KABOOM! A building that had some of the latest technologies to protect it in the event of an earthquake was simply no match for a two-bit government official!