China stresses tourist safety for coming holidays


BEIJING, Feb. 14 – The State Council, China’s cabinet, has called for strengthened safety measures for tourists for the upcoming dual holidays after a deadly stampede in Shanghai on the New Year eve.

“(Related departments) should be on alert of potential risks and keep a strong sense of responsibility so as to map out sound arrangements and safety measures to ensure the security of tourists’ lives and assets,” said a circular from the cabinet on tourists’ safety for the Spring Festival holiday and the Lantern Festival in early March.

The circular cited the deadly stampede in the Bund, Shanghai’s riverfront tourist hotspot where 36 were killed on Dec. 31 while people gathered to usher in the new year. The tragedy saw 11 local officials punished.

“The lessons from the Shanghai stampede and similar accidents should be well learned,” it said.

According to the document, local governments at or above the county level are responsible for coordinating efforts to ensure tourists’ safety within their jurisdictions, and detailed obligations must be delegated to specific people.

The cabinet vowed to pursue the liabilities of officials for inadequate safety measures, slack supervision or duty negligence that lead to severe tourist safety accidents.

The circular called on local authorities to focus on mass gatherings and celebration activities, urging key tourist attractions and large hotels to map out emergency response plans in case of stampede and fire.

It also stressed safety checks targeting accommodations, shopping malls, passenger vehicles, cable cars, elevators and other facilities in popular tourist sites. (Xinhua)