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Shanghai Tragedy Casts Pall Over New Year Events


A stampede during a New Year's Eve celebration in Shanghai has killed at least 35 people and injured dozens more.

Witnesses say the stampede broke out after people rushed to pick up fake money someone had thrown out of a third story window.

The incident happened just before midnight local time in Cheng Yi Square in the Bund, a popular waterfront area in central Shanghai.

Twenty-seven-year-old witness Cui Tingting said there was a mad dash to recover the bank notes, which people noticed later were fake.

"I had indeed picked up a bank note from the ground but had thrown it away. I think it was probably at least one cause of the disaster," said Cui.

Images posted on social media show passersby attempting to resuscitate injured people, who were laying on the ground that was littered with debris.

The official Xinhua news service said many of the dead were students and children. At least 43 people were also injured.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered authorities to conduct an investigation and take steps to make sure a similar incident does not happen again.

China has seen deadly stampedes before. In 2004, 37 people died after being trampled on a bridge during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Authorities had recently expressed concern about the safety of large crowds gathered on the Bund. Another New Year's Eve event that was scheduled to take place on the Bund this year had already been canceled.

For more on the Shanghai stampede, check our report by William Ide.