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China New Year crush victims mainly young women


China on Friday mourned the 36 dead from a New Year’s Eve crush on Shanghai’s famed waterfront, as the city government revealed the victims were mainly young women.

The incident was Shanghai’s worst since a fire in a high-rise residential building killed 58 people in 2010 and tarnished the commercial hub’s international reputation.

On Friday morning, around 100 people gathered in front of a statue of Shanghai’s first communist mayor Chen Yi near the accident scene, some laying flowers in a government-approved show of mourning.

The youngest of the 32 victims identified so far was a 12-year-old boy, the oldest 37. All but four were aged 25 or under, according to a list released by the city government on Friday, and 21 were female.

University student Chen Xiaohang placed white chrysanthemums at the site in memory of the sister of a high-school classmate who died.

“I feel very sad about this and I hope the government will offer better safety controls for events like this,” she said

Shanghai residents were questioning why the city government did not control the crowds, though police said a “more than normal” 700 police officers were present.

“The Shanghai government should take responsibility for the incident. Most of the young victims must be the only child of their families,” taxi driver Xu Jianzhong said.

Under China’s strict birth control regulations most couples are restricted to a single child.

Authorities at first removed flowers after the incident but later set up crowd barriers to allow them to be laid in a controlled area. On Thursday evening, mourners lit candles including an arrangement in the shape of a heart.

Internet postings and media reports initially blamed US dollar-like notes — actually promotional items from M18, a glitzy Bund nightclub — thrown from a building for setting off a scramble and causing the carnage.

But police said the “money” throwing occurred 12 minutes after and 60 metres away from the crush in a plaza.

“This happened after the stampede incident,” police said in a statement that cited surveillance video, adding it did not cause crowding pressure.

Source: AFP