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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.

Manya Koetse

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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 editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    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 Local News

Sudden Ground Collapse at Metro Station in Xiamen

A sudden collapse occurred near Xiamen’s Lucuo station, just two weeks after a similar incident took place in Guangzhou.

Manya Koetse

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First published

In the evening of December 12, Xiamen’s Lvcuo (Lǚcuò 吕厝) metro station became a breaking news topic in Chinese media after a ground collapse incident occurred at a nearby intersection, followed by a major flood in the Xiamen subway.

Xiamen, Fujian Province, is one of China’s major coastal cities. According to Xiamen Metro News, the collapse happened at 21:52 local time.

At time of writing, rescue teams are still investigating the scene. It is unclear if people have been trapped or injured due to the collapse.

An apparent dashcam video shared by Sina News and People’s Daily on Weibo shows the moment right before the sudden collapse.

The video captures how the road is relatively busy at the time of collapsing, and at least one car can be seen crashing into the sinkhole.

Other footage shows that the Xiamen metro line is currently flooded (also see video in this tweet).

The scene of the collapse at 0:10 local time.

The metro station where this incident occurred is relatively new. Xiamen’s metro line was first opened in late December 2017.

Just two weeks ago, another major ground collapse accident occurred at the construction site of a metro line in Guangzhou. Three people remain missing after the incident.

On Thursday night local time, the Xiamen metro collapse was the number one trending topic on social media platform Weibo. Many netizens commenting on the incident express worries about the safety of roads and construction sites in China.

Update (Dec 13): According to the latest Chinese media reports, the drivers of two cars who were at the scene at the moment of the ground collapse have both been recused. One female pedestrian who also fell into the sinkhole is receiving medical treatment..

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

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©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Health & Science

No Need for Plague Panic? China’s Trending Plague Outbreak

After the Year of the Pig brought swine flue, some fear the Year of the Rat will bring the ‘rat plague.’

Manya Koetse

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For the past nine days, during which three cases of the plague have been reported in China, the deadly bubonic plague has become a hot topic on Chinese social media.

The topic first made headlines on November 12, when Chinese state media announced that two people, a husband and wife from Inner Mongolia, were transported to Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with the pneumonic plague.

The couple reportedly got sick after eating raw marmot kidney.

A 55-year old hunter from the same region, the Inner Mongolian Xilingol League, was later also diagnosed with bubonic plague after eating wild rabbit meat.

The bubonic plague, also called the ‘Black Death,’ is an infectious disease that is known to have caused one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, killing millions of people in 14th century Europe.

News of the three cases of bubonic plague reminded many of the 2003 SARS panic; an outbreak of SARS in southern China caused over 8000 cases that year.

The World Health Organisation criticized China at the time for covering up the scale of the problem, with officials conceding in the Spring of 2003 that China’s SARs problem was “nearly 10 times worse than had been admitted.”

Current online reports on the bubonic plague in China stress that there is no reason for panic, with a hospital spokesperson confirming that the situation is “under control.”

42 people who are known to have come into contact with the Chinese patients have all been quarantined and were not found to have any symptoms of catching the disease.

Chinese (state) media channels are spreading social media posts this week that mainly emphasize that the plague “can be prevented, controlled, and managed,” and that it can be effectively treated.

“Don’t panic over plague outbreak,” Sina News headlines, with People’s Daily posting on Weibo that, according to the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is no need to worry.”

The bubonic plague primarily affects rodents and other animals, with animals – and incidentally humans – usually contracting the infection through insects such as (rat) fleas. This form of plague is highly contagious – can spread through coughing – and could be fatal within days if left untreated (Benedict 1996, 4).

Mammals such as rabbits or marmots, as eaten by the recent Chinese patients, but also rats, squirrels, gerbils, mice, etc., can all harbor the disease.

Although the disease is increasingly rare, and for many is something from the history books, there were still 3248 cases worldwide between 2010 and 2015, leading to 584 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Although Chinese media stress that there is no need to panic over the recent outbreak of the bubonic plague, many netizens still fear an epidemic, making comments such as: “The Year of the Pig brought the [African] swine fever, now the plague is starting just before the Year of the Rat!” (The word for ‘plague’ in Chinese is 鼠疫 shǔyì, literally meaning ‘rat plague’ or ‘mouse plague’).

Others are asking questions such as: “Do we risk the plague more if we have mice in the house?” and “How can we prevent getting it?”

Meanwhile, according to Jiemian News reports, the area in Inner Mongolia where the patients originally contracted the illness is currently under strict control by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture; some roads are closed off, and there’s temperature screening for those taking public transport.

The area has seen four cases of plague over the past decades, the most recent one before this month being in 2004.

Last news on the current three patients was from last Saturday, when it was reported that at least one of the patients is now in stable condition.

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

References

Benedict, Carol Ann. 1996. Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth Plague in Nineteenth Century China. Stanford University Press.

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©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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