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Shiny Big Eyelids, Pouty Red Lips? You Might Have Been to the Wrong Terracotta Army

Thought you visited the Terracotta Army, one of the great wonders of the world? You might have been tricked.

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Thought you visited the Terracotta Army, one of the great wonders of the world? You might have been tricked into a cheap replica of the famous tourist site. The complaints of people visiting Xi’an who are tricked by “tour guides” are growing louder.

Recently, one Chinese travel review attracted many readers on Douban, a Chinese social media network. In the blog, titled “Xi’an is a fun city: both its tourist sites and its scammers,” the writer tells how he went through a challenging game of outwitting cunning “tour guides” during his travels in Xi’an.

The netizen shared how he painstakingly defeated all the ‘bosses’ and finally managed to see the REAL Terracotta Army instead of its poor replica.

The ‘game’ began once the blogger had stepped out of the train at Xi’an station, where a fake policeman lured him to the wrong bus. A man in black then tried to convince him that the Terracotta Army pits were so far that he had to take another bus, and a free shuttle bus offered to take him to the real pit.

If it is your first time in Xi’an, and you haven’t done much preparation before the trip, you might fall into the trap and be guided to the “famous sites”: a Terracotta Army pit, an “Eight Wonders of the World” museum, and some other sites where famous historical events supposedly took place.

Here is what you will be seeing when you go to the “famous sites”:

• Shiny terracotta warriors with pouty red lips. Their color, despite what archaeologists say about the paint fading in open air, is vividly preserved. Sometimes they even have a modern-looking girl in their company. [Site: Underground Place of Qin, 秦陵地宫]

terracotta2

terracotta3

• The “Eight Wonders of the World,” where you will see things such as the tomb of Tutankhamen, Egyptian pyramids, or the three goddesses of ancient Greece. [Site: Eight Wonders of the World Museum, 世界八大奇迹馆]

8wonders

egypt

• Or paintings and wax figures depicting people’s lives in the past. [Site: Eight Wonders of the World Museum; Relics of Feast at Hong Gate, 鸿门宴遗址]

oil

Portrait of Liu Bang, a king in the Three Kingdoms Period (You can also click on the video to experience the trip).

Portrait of Liu Bang, a king in the Three Kingdoms Period
(You can also click on the video to experience the trip).

Although visitors might feel confused and disappointed after such a trip, they often do not not dwell on it for too long; after all, the above three places are officially recognized tourist sites by the Shaanxi Tourism Administration (陕西旅游政务), and have existed for decades.

But since last year, tourists’ complaints have grown louder, especially after the October Golden Week holiday when millions of people came to Xi’an to see the historical wonders of the city. Many were angered that they got to see cheap replicas instead.

The problem is that replica attractions used to be officially recognized tourist spots in the same way as real historical sites were. According to Mr. Zhang, an insider interviewed by Pear Video, the tourist sites with poorly replicated relics were constructed in the 1980s, when tourist resources were still scarce.

The ‘fake’ sites were used to satisfy the curiosity of visitors, so that they could see ‘historical relics’ they would otherwise never have a chance to see.

Although these replicas might have been of acceptable quality 30 years ago, they now seem crude, cheap, and very much outdated.

But more importantly, many historical sites have now become much more accessible to visitors than they were in the 1980s. On one single day in October 2016 alone, the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum had 120,000 visitors. Now that the ‘real’ sites are open for visitors, tourists no longer want to see replicas.

Nevertheless, tourists are still lured to go to these replica sites, only later finding out that they are at the wrong place. According to Mr. Zhang, the operators of these ‘fake’ sites spare no means to cooperate with illegal travel agencies to bring more visitors to their premises.

As a result of the rising complaints, the Xi’an Tourism Board has disqualified the above-mentioned three sites as of September 2016.

Yet according to Chinese netizens and daily newspaper Dushi Kuaibao (@都市快报), the scamming “travel guides” are still ubiquitous in Xi’an, tricking ignorant visitors every day.

Despite all the controversies, Xi’an is still worth a visit. Take this kind advice of a Xi’an netizen who warns travelers not to waste money on cheap scams:

We always welcome guests to Xi’an. If your budget is low, prepare your trip in advance. If your budget is high, stay at a 5-star hotel and rent a car. As long as you do not travel on the cheap, you won’t be cheated. The point of traveling is spending money for enjoyment. If you spend your money at the right place, you will get the most out of it.

-By Diandian Guo
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©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Yapa

    July 25, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Thanks for going to the Museum and take pics.

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China Insight

Pet Hotels are Booming Business in Beijing

Chinese pet lovers are willing to pay up to 900 RMB (±136$) per night to give their pet a comfortable stay at one of Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ (宠物酒店).

Qing Yan

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The success of luxurious pet lodging in Beijing has become especially apparent over the past October holiday. Chinese animal lovers are willing to pay up to 900 RMB (±136$) per night to give their pet the time of their lives while they are out of town.

For loving pet owners, before heading out on a holiday, finding a trustworthy pet lodge is often just as important as finding a comfortable hotel for themselves. And nowadays, both should be booked as early as possible during a holiday season.

In Beijing, the booming business of pet lodging was especially noticeable during the Golden Week holiday. Various Chinese media reported that pet hotels in Beijing have become so popular that they were already fully booked a month before the holiday started.

This is also what Zhang Wen, a local pet lodge owner, told Beijing Youth Daily (@北京青年报). He and his colleagues are specialized in tending to every possible need of Beijing’s household pets while their families are taking a holiday.

Some pet hotels now charge as high as 900 RMB (±136$) per day to lodge a pet. The pet lodging business is quickly expanding across Beijing. Some local residents now also improvise lodging facilities in their private homes, asking approximately 30-50 RMB (±5-8$) per day.

With a growing demand for comfortable lodges for family pets, Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ are increasingly competitive. Some offer private rooms for dogs and assign a member of staff for every pet to look after its diet, sanitation, cleaning, and exercise.

Some pet hotels are even equipped with sporting, beauty, bathing, and water purification facilities, resembling a five-star hotel. Non-traditional pets such as spiders and lizards are also welcome, as long as their owners clarify their routines in advance.

Criticism on luxurious pet hotels

On Weibo, the topic “Luxurious Pet Hotel Charges 900 RMB Per Day” (#豪华宠物酒店900一天#) received some 15 million views this October.

The news, which was first reported by Beijing Youth Daily, stirred discussions on social media. Although many people find the pet hotels cute or funny, there are also many who comment that this kind of extravagance for pets painfully points out the rich-poor divide in China.

“Dogs are living a better life than us humans now,” some said: “I can’t even stay at a hotel that is this expensive.”

One netizen sarcastically commented: “If you can’t afford housing in Beijing, just go and become a pet to someone here.”

Some even find the boom in luxurious pet hotels a worrying trend, saying “this will intensify the social conflicts.”

Besides the extravagant pet spoiling, there are also other reasons why netizens criticize the spread of fancy pet lodging. On social media, questions over epidemic issues are also surfacing.

Some companies that were interviewed by Chinese media failed to show any credentials for providing lodging services and had no in-house veterinary to offer health examinations for the pets taken in; China currently does not have a specific national legal framework nor corresponding regulatory measures for qualified pet lodgings.

By Qing Yan

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

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China Local News

China’s ‘Wedding of the Year’ Is the Talk of the Day on Weibo

This rich second generation “fu’erdai” couple just celebrated China’s wedding of the year in Wenzhou.

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Although many still think of Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming when talking about ‘China’s biggest wedding’, this fu’erdai couple have just celebrated a wedding that is even more extravagant.

See our latest Weivlog on this Wenzhou wedding of the year, which became one of top trending topics on Weibo on October 11, here:

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

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

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