A year after stampede, Shanghai opts out of New Year celebrations on the Bund

Thirty-six people were killed in a stampede during New Year celebrations on Dec 31, 2014 on the Bund.
Thirty-six people were killed in a stampede during New Year celebrations on Dec 31, 2014 on the Bund.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - The authorities in the Chinese city of Shanghai have opted not to organise New Year celebrations at the historic riverfront Bund this week, a year after a stampede killed 36 people.

City spokesman Xu Wei announced the decision on Tuesday (Dec 29), state broadcaster CCTV reported on its microblog. "There will be no activities on the Bund to greet the 2016 new year. Citizens who go there on their own, please pay attention to maintaining order," Mr Xu was quoted as saying.

The deadly crush at the end of 2014 occurred at around midnight on steps up to a riverside walkway as thousands of people gathered by the Huangpu River. Most of those who died were in their 20s, while 49 people were injured.

Two years ago, a New Year's Eve fireworks and laser show on the Bund drew a crowd of 300,000 people, and officials cancelled the 2014-2015 show days before it was set to take place due to concerns about crowd management, the Shanghai Daily reported at the time.

Despite that, a huge crowd still gathered.

Four district-level officials were fired and stripped of their Communist Party posts after the stampede and another seven were disciplined after an investigation concluded they had not done enough to mitigate the risks of such a big crowd.

The municipal government later cancelled a series of events, including annual Lantern Festival celebrations and an agricultural produce exhibition that has run for 14 years.