China media: Anger over Shanghai crush

People have been paying tributes to the victims of the stampede Image copyright AFP
Image caption People have been paying tributes to the victims of the stampede

Papers call for better urban management in the aftermath of the New Year's Eve stampede in Shanghai and a fire accident in north-eastern China.

Shanghai's New Year's Eve crush killed 36 people and injured 47. It happened in Chenyi Square in the Bund district, where huge crowds had gathered for the countdown.

The turnout was much higher than predicted, and Shanghai police said they regretted their failure to intervene in time, state media said.

China's President Xi Jinping has ordered an investigation into the tragedy.

Blaming the Shanghai authorities for being unprepared for the massive turnout, the Legal Daily calls for rules and regulations to govern how major events are managed.

"The authorities should now focus on risk prevention as one of the most important tasks for this year," the paper says.

Echoing similar views, the Workers' Daily urges "every city and everyone to learn a lesson from the Shanghai stampede".

An article in the Global Times notes that some netizens have accused the large number of migrant people in Shanghai whom they say have "squeezed the living space of the locals".

Dismissing such opinions, the commentary says "the debate over locals and outsiders should not divert our attention from the real issues" which are the problems in our emergency response system.

In another tragic incident, five firefighters lost their lives while trying to control a blaze at a warehouse in Harbin city, in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Friday.

The firemen who died were aged between 18 and 22.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the warehouse was part of a 11-storey residential building.

It adds that the building's structure was "complicated" and at risk of collapsing, which made it difficult to determine the source of the fire.

Commenting on both the stampede and the fire, the China Daily points out that the tragedies have exposed the mismanagement of the Chinese authorities and "city leaders, in particular".

"In both incidents there were loopholes in management that if plugged would have prevented them…But it seems as if such calls and requirements are all too soon forgotten or thrown into the air," the paper adds.

"Is there an institutional defect that prevents the authorities from doing a better job in anticipating problems and addressing them in advance?" it asks.

Internet anger

The response of the local authorities to the warehouse fire has also drawn flak from internet users.

According to the Beijing Youth Daily, the authorities' response on social media was unsatisfactory.

It notes that "almost half of the [official] post" describes how government officials paid much attention to the incident.

Describing the official response as "stereotypical" and "clumsy", the Global Times notes that many netizens were unhappy about the press briefing post.

"It (the response) suggests that some officials care less about the public and more about explaining matters to their superiors and not getting into hot water… The key lies in erasing bureaucracy and urging officials to be practical. Local governments and official agencies also need to take action to improve their abilities in dealing with public opinion," it concludes.

Tributes for 'Mr Olympics'

And finally, papers pay tribute to He Zhenliang, a former member and vice president of International Olympic Committee (IOC), who died on Sunday at the age of 85.

Also known as "China's Mr Olympics", Mr He was elected to the IOC in 1981 and became the Committee's vice-president in 1989. He played a major role in helping China win the bid to host the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Expressing condolences, the China Youth Daily says Mr He "served the nation and the Olympics for his whole life".

"He was also the first generation of sports diplomats who had connected the New China (after 1949) with the big family of the Olympics," it says

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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