Following the New Year’s Eve stampede on the Bund, Shanghai’s district governments are becoming more cautious when it comes to dealing with festivals and crowds. Jiading has decided to cancel its Lantern Festival celebrations for this year and Yuyuan Gardens may also follow suit.
The Jiading District government has decided to call off its annual Lantern Festival celebrations inside Guyi Garden, which had been held for the past seven years. Caixin reports that officials feared controlling the large number of people that turn up to the park to close out the Chinese New Year. From February 10th to 17th of last year, the park received more than 100,000 guests. On the day of the Lantern Festival alone 44,000 people entered the park, far exceeding its capacity.
Meanwhile, Yuyuan Gardens received some 1.5 million visitors during the Lantern Festival in 2013. That number doesn’t seem as innocent as it used to and festival organizers are reportedly considering their options. Caixin reports that there are already plans to increase security personnel and to control traffic flows in some areas, through capping the number of people allowed in a certain area at the same time.
With President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang watching, nobody wants to be the district mayor with a crowd control problem on his watch. Hongkou District government has cancelled all public activities scheduled between New Year’s and Spring Festival holidays. Department stores in Xujiahui have been ordered not to host any “themed activities.” New barriers have been erected to control traffic in Lujiazui. Qibao and Zhaojialou Water Town have introduced new crowd control measures. We know one university who definitely thinks this is all a good idea.
By the way, this was three months ago.
by Alex Linder