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Discipline violation of local officials at Shanghai stampede night

SHANGHAI officials were engaged in an opulent banquet while the fatal stampede occurred in the city's famous waterfront, the Bund, on the New Year Eve, discipline officials confirmed on Wednesday.

The Communist Party of China's (CPC) Shanghai Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection began investigating top Huangpu district officials after media reports alleged they were at an expensive dinner during the same time of the stampede.

The officials were invited to the banquet after they attended a New Year countdown held at the Waitanyuan Cultural Square, some 500 meters away from the stampede site, the investigation confirmed

Although it was past 11 pm, Zhou Xumin, chairman of the state-owned Shanghai Bund Investment Group, ordered midnight snacks from a Japanese restaurant for dinner.

The officials billed the private-room banquet including sushi, noodles and saka, which cost over 2,700 yuan (about 450 U.S. dollars) to an unofficial account to be paid later.

Those at the dinner included Zhou Wei, Communist Party chief of Huangpu District, his deputy Peng Song, as well as three other principal district officials, according to the investigation result.

Zhou and other officials rushed from the restaurant to the stampede site at the midnight.

Discipline inspectors held the officials responsible for violating the country's sweeping anti-corruption and frugality rules, and will receive punishment in line with Party discipline. The exact measures will be announced after taking into consideration their responsibilities in safety management for large crowds.

The fatal stampede has left 36 dead and 49 others injured. The incident highlighted safety risks at popular destinations.


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