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February 17, 2014

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New high-rise security stymies snappers

SECURITY at the city’s skyscrapers has been tightened following the exploits of two Russian men who scaled the under-construction Shanghai Tower during the Spring Festival.

Property management departments across Shanghai have urged their security staff to keep a close watch for potential copycats. The construction contractor on the Shanghai Tower project has since apologized for allowing the pair to reach the top of China’s tallest building unchallenged.

For local photographers, however, the increased surveillance at high-rises is proving to be a major hindrance. Unlike the Russian daredevils, local snappers have said they simply want to get to the top of the towers so they can shoot bird’s eye views of the city below.

“Shanghai has one of the world’s most beautiful skylines and it’s a joy to view it from its highest points,” photographer Sun Xiaochen said.

But with the new security measures, Sun said he is finding it more difficult to get to the places he wants to.

On Saturday, he said he was stopped by a security guard while trying to enter a building in Huangpu District, which overlooks the river.

“As soon as the guard saw my tripod he refused me access to the highest floors, saying the property management office no longer allows it,” he said.

Sun said the door to the top floor of the building is usually locked to stop people getting to the roof. But sometimes, he and his friends have found it open and have seized the opportunity to get their shots.

Besides the building in Huangpu, Sun said he has also been denied access to other high-rises in the city.

“It was never like this before the Shanghai Tower incident,” he said. “We like to take photographs from the highest floors because we want to show the city’s development from interesting angles. We’re not trying to make headlines or get in the newspaper,” he told Shanghai Morning Post.

While Sun admitted to sometimes climbing up scaffolding and signal towers to get the shot he wants, he said neither he nor any of the other photographers would ever do anything that would put them at risk.

Fang Yuqing, deputy general secretary of the Association of Shanghai Property Management, said he is a fan of the city’s high-rise photographers and considers their work artistic.

There are no rules against taking such photos, so the local government should introduce  rules so people can access tall buildings safely, he said.

Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov made headlines last week after releasing a video of themselves atop the 632-meter Shanghai Tower.



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