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Crowd precautions taken in Shanghai

Zhao Xinying
Updated: Jan 12,2015 7:33 AM     China Daily

People visit the Lunar New Year Lantern Festival at Yuyuan in Shanghai on Jan 31, 2014. In the wake of the recent stampede on New Year’s Eve in the city, the festival’s organizers have decided to cancel this year’s Lantern Festival events.[Photo/Xinhua]

Entry at job fair for college grads limited and festival events canceled over concerns

Authorities in Shanghai are taking additional steps at activities or events that involve large numbers of people to prevent another tragedy like the deadly stampede on New Year’s Eve that killed 36 people.

Some recreational events that attract large numbers of visitors, such as those marking the traditional Lunar New Year Lantern Festival, have been canceled in the stampede’s aftermath.

Yuyuan Tourist Mart, which had been organizing the festival, said in a statement on Jan 10 that it decided to cancel the event, which had been held for 20 years, out of concerns for security.

Lantern Festival events have been held annually from the first to the 18th day of the first lunar month at Yuyuan Tourist Mart, a garden in downtown Shanghai that features landscape architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

In 2013, Lantern Festival events attracted 3 million visitors during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, becoming one of the places in East China with the largest flow of people.

Meanwhile, at a job fair held for college graduates at the Shanghai International Expo Center on Jan 10, the number of students allowed to enter the venue at any one time was limited. This was done to ensure that there were, on average, no more than three people for every 4 square meters.

Official statistics showed that more than 16,000 students participated in the fair.

Many candidates and applicants had to wait at least 20 minutes-some even waited for almost one and a half hours-before entering the center to present a resume or to have an interview. This delay resulted in a 3-kilometer line outside the venue, Shanghai’s Laodong Daily reported.

Chen Lu, who will graduate this year from Fudan University, arrived at the expo center around 10 am on Jan 10.

“The fair started at 9 am, and by the time I arrived there, students who were waiting to enter had stood in a line hundreds of meters long,” Chen said.

“I waited for around an hour before I was allowed to enter with 50 or 60 other students,” she said.

This was the first event with large numbers of participants since the stampede, which was caused by an uncontrollable stream of people on the Bund waterfront district and killed 36 people and injured dozens.

At the fair on Jan 10, not only was the number of those entering the venue limited, but a large number of police officers, security guards and working staff was on hand to maintain order.

“They were there to stop students from jumping the line or pushing each other, and as a result we waited in quite good order,” Chen said.

Organizers and authorities said such strict measures also will be implemented for future job fairs to ensure safety, according to Shanghai Morning Post.

In the future, Chen said, she won’t mind waiting a long time due to tightened security measures in crowded public places, since “safety is the first priority for everyone, and we can relax and chat with friends while waiting. It’s no big deal”.