Shanghai: Thirty-two of 36 people killed in New Year eve stampede at Shanghai's iconic waterfront area have been identified, authorities said today, as Chinese media and public criticised the administration's failure to prevent the tragedy that marred the gleaming financial hub's image.
Police ruled out the possibility that the massive trampling at the Bund was caused by people rushing to pick up fake money thrown from a building overlooking the city's famous waterfront.
The Shanghai Municipal government has published the identity of 32 victims on its microblog, with the rest yet to be identified. Among them, the youngest was a 12-year-old boy while the oldest was 37.
Among those identified, 21 were female. A total of 25 women, mostly young college graduates, were killed in the incident.
In an unusually critical commentary, the official Xinhua news agency said the latest disaster "served as a wake-up call that the world's second-largest economy is still a developing country which has fragile social management".
"Even for a metropolis like Shanghai, which leads in modern management nationwide, loopholes still exist," it said.
The government could not shake responsibility for what happened, the news agency said, raising questions as to why there were apparently so few police personnel on duty for the massive crowd thronging the area, that witnessed nearly 300,000 people turning up for last New Year's Eve.
"It was a lack of vigilance from the government, a sloppiness," it said.
Police also admitted that they underestimated the number of people who would turn up.
Many residents said the number of police at the scene was lower than that deployed on National Day because the government had not organised any formal event in the square.
But the crowd was larger than expected, deputy commander of the Huangpu district police station Cai Lixin said.
The condition of 13 of the 47 injured, including a Malaysian tourist, was stated to be serious.
Police investigations determined that the coupons with the name of the local Bar M18 printed on coupons resembling USD 100 currency which were reportedly thrown from a building at the Bund was not the cause, state-run CCTV reported.
Shanghai police microblog said that an investigation has been found that the coupons were thrown at 11:46 pm local time by when the stampede was already triggered.
However, investigations still focused on what caused the tragedy just before the New Year countdown.
Besides Hong Kong, that is run as a separate territory, Shanghai is China's most international and cosmopolitan city, home to global companies and aims at becoming a world financial centre by 2020.