SHANGHAI. The investigation into the stampede on New Year’s Eve that left 36 dead and 49 injured resulted in four officials sacked and seven others suspended, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reports.

The investigation report was released on Wednesday January 21st and named the four senior government officials sacked; Communist Party chief of Huangpu District Zhou Wei, district governor Peng Song, deputy district governor and Huangpu’s public security chief Zhou Zheng, and deputy police chief of the district Chen Qi.

Shanghai authorities labelled the tragedy a public safety liability incident that was caused by poor crowd control, failed safety measures and inappropriate reaction to the incident.

Seven other officials in tourism, public security and urban management were also affected by the investigation results, according to CCTV.

The annual light show at the famous riverfront the Bund was cancelled on New Year’s Eve and police said they underestimated the crowd size as thousands of people still showed up.

There was no official number of pedestrians at the scene but mainland media reports vary between 100,000 and 150,000 people.

Members of the public have lashed out and blamed Shanghai authorities for failing to keep order at the city’s historic waterfront.

The deadly stampede happened around 11:35PM and some were concerned that coupons resembling dollar bills that were thrown from the nearby nightclub M18 started the incident.

Foreign media were banned from talking to victims’ relatives, police officers and hospital staff the following day, underscoring China’s strict media censorship.

Once Shanghai police noticed unusual activity in the area they reportedly sent 500 officers to help disperse the crowd. It took between five and eight minutes for them to reach the staircase at Chen Yi Square and it was already too late when they arrived, quoted police as saying.

Relatives and friends guarded by heavy security held a memorial ceremony seven days after the tragedy at Chen Yi Square where the stampede took place, aligning with Chinese traditions.

The blockades currently surrounding Chen Yi Square are supposedly staying until mid-April and the lights that usually characterize Shanghai’s skyline remain turned off.


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