China puts tourist on blacklist for 10 years for climbing on top of Red Army statue

A man was placed on China's tourist blacklist for 10 years for climbing on top of a Red Army statue for a photo at a tourist attraction. -- PHOTO: SINA WEIBO
A man was placed on China's tourist blacklist for 10 years for climbing on top of a Red Army statue for a photo at a tourist attraction. -- PHOTO: SINA WEIBO

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China has placed a man on a tourist blacklist for 10 years for climbing on top of a Red Army statue at a tourist attraction to take a photo.

The decision was made by the country's National Tourism Administration (NTA) and announced on Tuesday.

The scenic spot, Shengli Shan (Victory Hill) in north-west China's Shaanxi province, was excluded from star-rated ranking for the next two years, as a punishment for its poor administration.

The man, Mr Li Wenchun, climbed on top of the Red Army statue for a photo in late April. His behaviour was posted on social media sites by passers-by and was severely criticised by the public.

Mr Li was the first Chinese tourist to be blacklisted by the NTA after the administration officially announced rules last month to establish a blacklist of tourists who demonstrate inappropriate or illegal behavior.

The regulation comes amid growing concern about the poor manners of Chinese tourists both at home and abroad.

In December, four Chinese tourists who threw hot water and noodles on a Thai flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane were the first batch of offenders to be blacklisted by the NTA.

The rules did not specify what punishments will come after the blacklist, but the person's information is very likely to be passed to the police, customs officials and banks.

Right ahead of the May Day holiday, the tourism administration issued more industry standards, giving tour guides the right to report bad behaviour to the authorities.

The punishment for Mr Li has been applauded by many over social media, while some argue the punishment was either too mild or too harsh, as the consequences of being on the blacklist for 10 years is unknown.

The regulation released last month said that the records of misbehaving tourists would be kept for up to two years. It is not known whether Mr Li's case was considered extremely serious by the officials.

The new regulations specified six types of behaviours to be blacklisted: interrupting public transportation, damaging private or public property, disrespecting local customs, sabotaging historical exhibits, and engaging in gambling or pornographic activities.

China is the world's largest outbound tourist market since 2012. In 2013, Chinese tourists spent US$129 billion (S$171 billion) abroad, more than any other source country in the world.

In 2014, Chinese tourists made 3.6 billion domestic trips, an increase of 10 per cent. The number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad also increased by 19.5 per cent year on year to 109 million in 2014, according to Xinhua.