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Shanghai's Cancellations of Spring Festival Events Raise Controversy
   2015-01-16 20:54:24    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo

Photo taken on Jan. 1, 2015 shows the scene of a stampede that caused casualties among people who took part in new year celebrations in east China's Shanghai. [Photo: Xinhua]

Reaction has been mostly negative following a decision by municipal authorities in Shanghai to cancel a number of events in the city this year connected to the forthcoming Spring and Lantern festivals.

As CRI's Wang Mengzhen reports, the moves come in the wake of the deadly stampede on the Bund which left 36 people dead.

 

"It is a real shame. You can't simply cancel an event after the Shanghai Stampede. The Yuyuan Lantern Festival is a state-level intangible cultural heritage."

"In my opinion, the authorities need to strengthen controls and take precautions instead of cancelling all the events. Otherwise, why don't we all just stay home and never leave our houses."

The complaints and disappointment come amid a series of cancellations of Spring Festival and Lantern Festival events in Shanghai in the wake of the Bund Stampede on New Year's Eve which left 36 people dead and 49 others injured.

The events which authorities have cancelled include the famous 18-day Lantern Festival at Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden in Huangpu District.

That annual festival last year saw some 600-thousand people pack into the garden on the night of the Lantern Festival.

The move by the Municipal authorities in Shanghai has been generating a lot of complaints, not only from the average person in the city, but also within the academic community as well.

Zhu Lijia is with the public management department at the National Academy of Education Administration.

"What the government should be doing is reflecting on, and learning lessons from, its mistakes, rather than trying to escape its responsibilities. If the public is banned from doing anything for safety reasons, then our government will end up doing nothing. From the perspective of public management, we call it the inaction of government."
The move by the authorities in Shanghai is also generating critical attention in leading media outlets in China.

The China Daily has issued an editorial, describing the Shanghai government's reaction to the stampede "troubling", saying the cancellation of events such as the Yuyuan Garden festival points to a lack of confidence.

Guyi Garden, another popular tourist site in Shanghai, has also canceled its lantern festival event amid concerns over safety.

Police in Shanghai have still not said what they think caused the stampede on New Year's Eve.

For CRI, I am Wang Mengzhen.

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