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Chinese media, public seek answers over stampede

Chinese media, public seek answers over stampede
Chinese media and angry relatives of the victims of New Year eve stampede at Shanghai’s iconic waterfront area on Friday criticised the government’s failure to prevent the tragedy that killed 36 people and injured 49 others, marring the gleaming financial hub’s image.

The identity of 32 of the 36 killed in Wednesday’s late night massive trampling at the Bund was published by the Shanghai Municipal government on its microblog, authorities said today. The rest are yet to be identified.

In an unusually critical commentary, the official Xinhua news agency said the latest disaster “served as a wake-up call that the world’s second-largest economy is still a developing country which has fragile social management”.

“Even for a metropolis like Shanghai, which leads in modern management nationwide, loopholes still exist,” it said.

The government could not escape responsibility for the tragedy, the news agency said, raising questions as to why there were apparently few police personnel on duty for the massive crowd thronging the area, that witnessed nearly 300,000 people turning up for last New Year’s Eve.

“It was a lack of vigilance from the government, a sloppiness,” it said.

Police also admitted that they underestimated the number of people who would turn up.

Many residents said the number of police at the scene was lower than that deployed on National Day because the government had not organised any formal event in the square.

But the crowd was larger than expected, deputy commander of the Huangpu district police station Cai Lixin said.

Police ruled out possibility that the stampede was caused by people rushing to pick up fake dollar bills thrown from a building overlooking the Bund, state-run CCTV reported.
Agencies

Agencies

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