Shanghai New Year stampede kills 36

Updated: 2015-01-01 18:51


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Shanghai New Year stampede kills 36

The Sina Weibo photo shows the scene in the Bund in Shanghai before the stampede happened, Jan 1, 2015. [Photo/Sina Weibo]

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday asked for an immediate investigation into the cause of the stampede and urged measures to prevent such an incident from happening again.

Premier Li Keqiang said officials need to "make every effort" to reduce injury-related deaths and console relatives, adding that strict precautions should be taken against major incidents and public safety and social stability should be ensured.

"For large-scale activities, security risk assessment and prediction are very important. The administrator has standards on such assessments before approving any activities held in public areas," Qin Liqiang, professor of Administration on Public Security at the People's Public Security University of China, told China Daily.

"I am not so clear about the details of this accident on the Bund, but this tragedy surely tells us that we need to strengthen the aforehand assessment, especially at some of the most risky spots where people are likely to gather and improve the execution of safety procedures," Qin said. "For such a big event, we need to add more staff. Volunteers may also be needed in some important spots to work with police and other security teams."

The Bund, a stretch of riverbank on the west side of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, is a popular destination for New Year celebrations, with its historical architecture and skyscrapers along the river displaying dazzling light shows at night.

Fatal incidents like this one were not rare in China, the world's most populous country. Stampedes in the past were mainly due to safety loopholes.

In September 2014, six students were killed in a stampede at a primary school in Yunnan Province after a stairway was blocked. In January 2014, a mosque stampede killed 14 people and injured another 10 in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. In 2004, a stampede on a bridge in suburban Beijing killed 37 during a local lantern festival.