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Holiday Chaos: China’s Scenic Areas Overcrowded and Dangerous

As millions of people are flocking to China’s most scenic areas during the national holiday, some spots are so chaotic and packed that they form a potential safety hazard to visitors.

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Millions of Chinese use the National Holiday period to go out and visit some of China’s most scenic spots. But some areas are so crowded and unorganized that the situation is perilous. On Weibo, people complain about the security hazards of China’s overcrowded tourist attractions.

As people across China are celebrating the Golden Week holiday, the country’s scenic spots are packed with tourists.

Huge crowds formed a potential safety hazard at the Seven Small Arches (Xiaoqikong) scenic area in Libo County, Guizhou (image via Weibo).

This year, many people on Weibo are especially complaining about the situation at the Seven Small Arches (Xiaoqikong) scenic area in Libo County, Guizhou.

On Sunday, Pear Video reported on Weibo that the roads leading to the sightseeing spot were so jammed that some foreign tourists decided to get out their car to play a game of frisbee on the expressway.

On Monday, the situation seemed even worse, as some Weibo netizens posted that the extreme crowds in the area led to people being stuck for over three hours in the heat, with no available food or water, and no people to manage the situation.

Not just the roads to the area were jammed, people were also stuck within the area waiting for buses – sometimes for two to three hours, according to visitors’ reports.

“Such a chaos!” some visitors wrote online: “And no staff members to maintain order, no mechanisms to respond to emergency situations.”

One netizen (@小蜗牛牛儿) posted a that a SWAT team eventually came to the scene to check on the situation.

“First I drive 3 hours to Libo, then it still takes me 3 hours to actually reach the scenic spot, then I catch a glimpse of the Seven Small Arches and the day was gone like this. You really don’t control this well, you shouldn’t let in so many people,” one person complained on Weibo.

“Of all the scenic attractions I’ve ever visited, the Seven Small Arches left the worst impression on me,” netizen (@飞骑引雕弓2016) said: “We waited for two hours on the rocks in the heat before we could get on the bus, people are getting heatstroke this way!”

“This is the first time I experienced a traffic jam within a scenic spot!” another commenter, who also visited the area on Monday, wrote on Weibo.

“The Seven Small Arches area is receiving too many visitors, creating huge congestion. People are currently fighting to get on the bus,” another visitor wrote, warning local authorities about the potentially hazardous situation.

China’s scenic spots yearly attract attention for becoming too crowded during the national holiday. During these days, places such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and many other tourist attractions are so crowded that people can hardly move.

The Seven Small Arches Xiaoqikong scenic spot covers an area of 10 square kilometers, and is known for its karst forest, beautiful scenery, and numerous waterfalls.

A young woman from Sichuan posted on social media: “I understand that there are a lot of people here. But it’s past six o’clock and we’ve been waiting for over an hour for the tour bus to pick us up and it hasn’t come. So many people here and it’s soon getting dark, we’re over ten kilometers away from the exit and cannot walk so far. We don’t have food and it’s hot. Nobody is answering on the complaint line, and still, the entrance ticket to the park is so expensive!”

On Monday night, other visitors posted that they had been waiting for over four hours in the dark for a bus to pick them up from the scene.

“I will never come back here,” they wrote.

By Manya Koetse


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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. Richard Smith

    November 19, 2017 at 12:24 am

    I’ve just returned from researching tourism in some of China’s best known tourist sites — Hua Shan, Jiangjiashie, Guilin, the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Suzhou, Hangzhou and others. China has many beautiful natural features that have not yet been destroyed by overdevelopment, many beautiful parks and gardens, and a still a few old villages and cities. But they’re all being overwhelmed by way too many people and incessant overdevelopment. A couple of weeks ago a Chinese friend and I visited Yu Garden in Shanghai. He grew up in Shanghai and used to go there on Saturday mornings as a child in the 1950s and 60s with his grandfather. They would spend a couple of hours in near solitude, contemplating the beauty of the rocks, lakes and nature. The garden was ideal for meditation and in those days one could do that. But today even on a regular week day, not a holiday, the place is mobbed with masses of Chinese tourists posing for selfies every ten steps. Meditation or even just enjoying nature is the last thing one can do there. The same can be said with nearly every other tourist site i visited. A visit to tourist sites really brings home the fact that China is massively overpopulated. Moreover, what with “market reform” every site charges admission. Not cheap either. Even to visit a dirty public beach in Guilin you have to buy a ticket. So everywhere you go there are “cattle pens” to regulate long queues of people buying tickets, getting on buses or cable cars up the mountains and so on. Then there is all the trashy commercialism, the KFC junk food, etc. etc. Of course these problems are not limited to China. I live in the middle of New York City. This place is nothing if not massively overpopulated. Go the the Eiffel Tower or Venice or any tourist site in Europe and many in the U.S. The world doesn’t need a one-child policy. It needs a NO-child policy for a few generations to get the human population back down so some reasonable sustainable level so that we don’t completely destroy the last of the natural world. I certainly don’t support compulsory population reduction but I see no reason why, with adequate social security arrangements, we can’t provide economic and other incentives to people to have just one or even forego having children so future generations can live in a sustainable, harmonious, beautiful world instead of an overpopulated, market-driven world verging on ecological collapse.

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China Animals

‘Welcome Home, Molly’ – Chinese Zoo Elephant Returns to Kunming after Online Protest

One small step for animal protection in China, one giant leap for Molly the elephant.

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Following online protest and the efforts of animal activists, Molly has returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born and where mother elephant Mopo is.

The little elephant named Molly is a big topic of discussion on Chinese social media recently.

The popular Asian elephant, born in the Kunming Zoo in 2016, was separated from her mother at the age of two in April of 2018. Molly was then transferred from Kunming Zoo to Qinyang, Jiaozuo (Henan), in exchange for another elephant. Over the past few years, fans of Molly started voicing their concerns online as the elephant was trained to do tricks and performances and to carry around tourists on her back at the Qinyang Swan Lake Ecological Garden (沁阳天鹅湖生态园), the Qinyang Hesheng Forest Zoo (沁阳和生森林动物园), the Jiaozuo Forestry Zoo (焦作森林动物园), and the Zhoukou Safari Park (周口野生动物世界).

Since the summer of 2021, more people started speaking out for Molly’s welfare when they spotted the elephant chained up and seemingly unhappy, forced to do handstands or play harmonica, with Molly’s handlers using iron hooks to coerce her into performing.

Earlier this month, Molly became a big topic on Chinese social media again due to various big accounts on Xiaohongshu and Weibo posting about the ‘Save Molly’ campaign and calling for an elephant performance ban in China (read more).

Although zookeepers denied any animal abuse and previously stated that the elephant is kept in good living conditions and that animal performances are no longer taking place, Molly’s story saw an unexpected turn this week. Thanks to the efforts of online netizens, Molly fans, and animal welfare activists, Molly was removed from Qinyang.

A popular edited image of Molly that has been shared a lot online.

On May 15, the Henan Forestry Bureau – which regulates the holding of all exotic species, including those in city zoos – announced that Molly would return to Kunming in order to provide “better living circumstances” for the elephant. A day later, on Monday, Molly left Qinyang and returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born. In Kunming, Molly will first receive a thorough health check during the observation period.

Official announcement regarding Molly by the Henan Forestry Administration.

Many online commenters were happy to see Molly returning home. “Finally! This is great news,” many wrote, with others saying: “Please be good to her” and “Finally, after four years of hardship, Molly will be reunited with her mother.”

Besides regular Weibo accounts celebrating Molly’s return to Kunming, various Chinese state media accounts and official accounts (e.g. the Liaocheng Communist Youth League) also posted about Molly’s case and wished her a warm welcome and good wishes. One Weibo post on the matter by China News received over 76,000 likes on Monday.

Although many view the effective online ‘Save Molly’ campaign as an important milestone for animal welfare in China, some animal activists remind others that there are still other elephants in Chinese zoos who need help and better wildlife protection laws. Among them are the elephant Kamuli (卡目里) and two others who are still left in Qinyang.

For years, animal welfare activists in China and in other countries have been calling for Chinese animal protection laws. China does have wildlife protection laws, but they are often conflicting and do not apply to pets and there is no clear anti-animal abuse law.

“I’ll continue to follow this. What are the next arrangements? What is the plan for Molly and the other elephants? How will you guarantee a safe and proper living environment?”

Another Weibo user writes: “This is just a first step, there is much more to be done.”

To follow more updates regarding Molly, check out Twitter user ‘Diving Paddler’ here. We thank them for their contributions to this article.

To read more about zoos and wildlife parks causing online commotion in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse

References (other sources linked to within text)

Arcus Foundation (Ed.). 2021. State of the Apes: Killing, Capture, Trade and Ape Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

China Daily. 2012. “Animal Rights Groups Seek Performance Ban.” China Daily, April 16 http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-04/16/content_25152066.htm [Accessed May 1 2022].

Li, Peter J. 2021. Animal Welfare in China: Culture, Politics and Crisis. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

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China Health & Science

Shanghai ‘Dead Man’ Taken Away to Morgue, Found to Be Alive

An incident in which a man taken to a morgue turned out to be alive doesn’t really help to restore residents’ trust in Shanghai.

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An incident in which a Shanghai man, who was thought to be dead, was taken to a funeral home before he was found to be alive has become a big topic on Chinese social media.

The incident happened on the afternoon of May 1st at the Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home (上海新长征福利院) in the city’s Putuo District.

A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social media in which a body bag can be seen put into a vehicle by three people, two members of staff from the nursing home and one funeral home worker. Shortly after, the body bag is taken out again and put back on a trolley. One of the nurses zips open the bag, pulls a cover from the man’s face, and apparently finds him to be alive.

“He’s alive,” one of the workers says in shock: “He’s alive, I saw it, he’s alive. Don’t cover him any more.”

The man is then transferred back into the nursing home, still inside the body bag.

The video that is making its rounds on social media was filmed from two different angles, the person filming can be heard calling the incident “a disgrace for human life” and “irresponsible.”

On May 2nd, the Chinese state media outlet People’s Daily posted about the incident on Weibo, saying the city district is currently investigating the case. The man was hospitalized and his vital signs are stable.

Meanwhile, multiple people are held accountable for the incident. The head of the nursing home has been dismissed and will be further investigated, along with four district officials. The license of the doctor involved will also be revoked.

The Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home has also apologized for the incident (#上海一福利院就未死亡老人被拉走道歉#).

On social media, many people are angry about the incident, wondering why the old man was transported to the funeral home in the first place, and why the members of staff seemed to be indifferent after finding out he was still alive.

In the video, the member of staff standing next to the man can be seen covering the patient’s face again after finding out he is still alive, leaving the body bag zipped up. Many also see this as a cold and incomprehensible way to respond.

After weeks of online anger about the chaotic and sometimes inhumane way in which Shanghai authorities have been handling the Covid outbreak in the city, this incident seems to further lower the public’s trust in how patients and vulnerable residents are being treated.

“Shanghai is such a terrifying place!”, some on Weibo write.

“Just think about it,” one person responded: “This incident took place in one of China’s most prosperous cities and happened to be filmed. How much is happening in other cities that is not caught on camera? Today, it’s this man, in the future, it’s us.”

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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