New Year begins peacefully in USA despite threats; Shanghai sees dozens killed

Despite alleged threats to kill cops and disrupt New Year’s Eve revelry, 2015 was rung in peacefully in the United States, it appears. No major incidents have made the internet news feeds, though there was a “die-in” at Boston’s First Night festival that resulted in no disruption or arrests.

In Shanghai, however, 36 people at latest count died in a stampede onthat city’s famous Bund riverfront promenade, as a nightclub showered the crowd with what appeared to be dollar bills but were just coupons. The AP reports:

 New Year's celebrations in Shanghai's historic waterfront area killed 36 people in the worst disaster to hit one of China's showcase cities in recent years.

The Shanghai government said 47 others received hospital treatment, including 13 who were seriously injured, after the chaos about a half-hour before midnight. Seven of the injured people had left hospitals by Thursday afternoon.

The Shanghai government information office said one Taiwanese was among the dead, and two Taiwanese and one Malaysian were among the injured.

The deaths and injuries occurred at Chen Yi Square in Shanghai's popular riverfront Bund area, an avenue lined with art deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s when Shanghai was home to international banks and trading houses.

The area is often jammed with people during major events.

It must have been a nightmare for people caught in the dense crowd, unable to resist forces generated by a mixture of excitement and then panic:

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted a woman with the surname Yin who was caught with her 12-year-old son in the middle of crowds of people pushing to go up and down steps leading from the square.

"Then people started to fall down, row by row," Yin said. When her son was finally brought to safety, he had shoe prints over his clothes, "his forehead was bruised, he had two deep creased scars on his neck, and his mouth and nose were bleeding," she said.

Xia Shujie, vice president of Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital, told reporters that some of the victims had been suffocated.

Shanghai has a reputation as the most materialistic city on China, maybe in the world, something that goes back to its origins as a trading port dominated by foreign powers and amplified by China’s embrace of the pursuit of wealth in recent decades.  Someone I know moved there from Paris several years ago and has complained about the conspicuous consumption that is the norm there among elites. (Paris, after all, is not a city noted for modesty, either.)

In any event, people in other parts of China are no doubt confirming their stereotypes of Shanghai as a city driven by greed. But nearly all of the victims, I assume, were overwhelmed by the mob, not by their own greed. This is a genuine tragedy.

Despite alleged threats to kill cops and disrupt New Year’s Eve revelry, 2015 was rung in peacefully in the United States, it appears. No major incidents have made the internet news feeds, though there was a “die-in” at Boston’s First Night festival that resulted in no disruption or arrests.

In Shanghai, however, 36 people at latest count died in a stampede onthat city’s famous Bund riverfront promenade, as a nightclub showered the crowd with what appeared to be dollar bills but were just coupons. The AP reports:

 New Year's celebrations in Shanghai's historic waterfront area killed 36 people in the worst disaster to hit one of China's showcase cities in recent years.

The Shanghai government said 47 others received hospital treatment, including 13 who were seriously injured, after the chaos about a half-hour before midnight. Seven of the injured people had left hospitals by Thursday afternoon.

The Shanghai government information office said one Taiwanese was among the dead, and two Taiwanese and one Malaysian were among the injured.

The deaths and injuries occurred at Chen Yi Square in Shanghai's popular riverfront Bund area, an avenue lined with art deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s when Shanghai was home to international banks and trading houses.

The area is often jammed with people during major events.

It must have been a nightmare for people caught in the dense crowd, unable to resist forces generated by a mixture of excitement and then panic:

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted a woman with the surname Yin who was caught with her 12-year-old son in the middle of crowds of people pushing to go up and down steps leading from the square.

"Then people started to fall down, row by row," Yin said. When her son was finally brought to safety, he had shoe prints over his clothes, "his forehead was bruised, he had two deep creased scars on his neck, and his mouth and nose were bleeding," she said.

Xia Shujie, vice president of Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital, told reporters that some of the victims had been suffocated.

Shanghai has a reputation as the most materialistic city on China, maybe in the world, something that goes back to its origins as a trading port dominated by foreign powers and amplified by China’s embrace of the pursuit of wealth in recent decades.  Someone I know moved there from Paris several years ago and has complained about the conspicuous consumption that is the norm there among elites. (Paris, after all, is not a city noted for modesty, either.)

In any event, people in other parts of China are no doubt confirming their stereotypes of Shanghai as a city driven by greed. But nearly all of the victims, I assume, were overwhelmed by the mob, not by their own greed. This is a genuine tragedy.