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A photo posted on Chinese social media shows people in the street after they ran out of the SEG Plaza on Tuesday. The city’s government has said the structure is safe. Photo: Handout

SEG Plaza is cleared of safety issues by local inspectors while US consulate warns citizens to stay away after mysterious shaking

  • Real-time monitoring of the building’s vibration frequency, tilt rate and settlement degree found that they did not exceed official safety parameters
  • Merchants were allowed to enter the SEG Electronics Market on Wednesday, but customers were still being denied entry

The US consulate in Guangzhou has issued a warning to American citizens to avoid the SEG Plaza, the iconic Shenzhen skyscraper that was suddenly evacuated on Tuesday, despite safety inspectors finding no issues in the building’s main structure or surrounding environment.

SEG Plaza, a landmark skyscraper in Shenzhen’s downtown, started to shake for unknown reasons on Tuesday afternoon, leading to an emergency evacuation of thousands of people.

The Shenzhen Emergency Management Bureau said it had received reports that the building, which is of similar height to the Empire State Building in New York, was wobbling and that relevant authorities were still investigating the matter.

The Shenzhen housing and construction bureau commissioned multiple professional institutions to conduct real-time monitoring of the building’s vibration frequency, tilt rate and settlement degree from 9pm on May 18 to 3pm on May 19, and found them all to be within official ranges set by China’s safety bodies, according to the statement released on the official WeChat account of the Shenzhen government.

The Shenzhen government also said that the main structure of the building is safe and the reason for the shaking was still under investigation. It added that the public will be notified of the results of the investigation at the appropriate time.

Chinese media reported that employees at the city’s emergency management bureau said in an internal document that the shaking was possibly caused by a combination of factors, including wind, the subway line below the building, and temperature differences inside and outside the building.

The SEG Plaza skyscraper in Shenzhen. Photo: Handout

The incident also affected the SEG Electronics Market, a 10-storey structure at the base of the tower, which has long been one of Shenzhen’s most famous wholesale electronics markets, offering buyers an array of obscure components.

Merchants were allowed to enter this area of the tower on Wednesday, but customers were still being denied entry. The incident does not appear to have significantly impacted business, merchants said, as they can still sell online and they expect customers to be allowed back in soon.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Shenzhen skyscraper deemed safe after shaking but Americans told to stay away