Revellers welcome 2015 but celebrations turn deadly in China

January 1, 2015 5:18 am
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People write "2015" with sparklers as they celebrate the New Year in the suburb of St Petersburg late on December 31, 2014/AFP
People write “2015” with sparklers as they celebrate the New Year in the suburb of St Petersburg late on December 31, 2014/AFP
SHANGHAI, China, Jan 1 – Millions of revellers took to the streets around the world from Sydney to New York to usher in 2015 on Thursday, but in China celebrations turned to tragedy when 35 people were killed in a stampede in central Shanghai.

As the rest of the globe celebrated with spectacular fireworks displays in cities from Sydney to Moscow, chaos broke out in China’s financial hub as people packed the Bund district to welcome the New Year.

Another 42 people were also injured in the crush, which happened shortly before midnight, the city’s government said in a statement, adding that the incident was under investigation.

A photo on the website of the Shanghai Daily newspaper showed what appeared to be dead and injured people lying on the ground with crowds in the background.

Official news agency Xinhua cited a witness saying coupons that looked like US dollar notes were thrown from a third-floor window and revellers along the river bank started to scramble for them.

“I felt I was suffocating and desperate,” wrote one poster on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, adding that “some people with us will not come back”.

The celebrations had been moved to a new location on the Bund this year specifically out of concerns about overcrowding after nearly 300,000 people turned out last year, the paper said.

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