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Rumored lantern show attracts thousands of onlookers

(CRI Online)

15:07, February 25, 2013

Visitors wait outside the Qianmen station on subway line 2 in Beijing on February 24, 2013, after a crowd of people hoping to see a lantern show mobbed the surrounding area. (Photo/ The Beijing Times)

Tens of thousands of people gathered in the historic center of Beijing on Sunday waiting for a rumored lantern show to begin, but ended up seeing nothing on China's Lantern Festival holiday, the Beijing News reports.

Media reports said more than 10,000 people swarmed into Qianmen Street in downtown Beijing starting at about 5 p.m., waiting for a lantern show to begin and causing traffic problems in the area. But only after the crowd realized there was not going to be a show did they begin to disperse.

A visitor surnamed Ou from Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong Province told the newspaper that he had read on an internet forum that a lantern show was going to be held on Qianmen Street. But when he arrived, all he saw was crowds of people. Many other visitors also said they saw information about the show online.

The official microblog of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said there would be no lantern show organized in Qianmen Street this year and warned visitors not to believe the online rumor.

Qianmen used to hold similar lantern shows in the past. The administrative staff of Qianmen Street said the shows used to attract a large number of tourists, but because of safety concerns, they canceled this year's event and made an announcement via Weibo on Wednesday to quash the online rumor.

Heavy traffic caused by the crowd blocked the Qianmen station on subway line 2 for at least half an hour on Sunday.

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