Unruly tourist destroys stalagmite in Chinese cave

Surveillance footage showing an unidentified Chinese tourist kicking down a stalagmite that took thousands of years to form at a limestone cave in south-west China. Netizens were swift in their condemnation.
Surveillance footage showing an unidentified Chinese tourist kicking down a stalagmite that took thousands of years to form at a limestone cave in south-west China. Netizens were swift in their condemnation.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

BEIJING • An unruly Chinese tourist has been captured on surveillance camera kicking down a stalagmite that took thousands of years to form at a picturesque limestone cave in south-west China, sparking an outcry on social media.

The unidentified man visiting the cave in Songtao county, Guizhou province, on Friday is seen delivering three swift kicks to the 50cm stalagmite, knocking off a 30cm-long piece of limestone before walking away without taking the broken piece, reported the South China Morning Post.

The destruction took place on the side of the cave's main path. While the police were called by administrators of the cave attraction, the man has not been traced yet.

According to a cave enthusiast, such limestone formations are built up over a long time, drip by drip, and cannot be readily restored.

Previously, similar man-made damage to stalactites has been reported in Shandong and Liaoning provinces.

Chinese netizens were swift in their condemnation.

Said a Baidu user: "Such scenic attractions belong to the nation and should not be wilfully damaged. (The man) deserves a serious punishment."

However, another netizen pondered over whether such an incident would have occurred had the natural wonder not been "exploited for profit".

Meanwhile, in another instance of misbehaviour by a Chinese tourist, an elderly woman was caught on camera pulling hair off a camel while visiting a wildlife park.

In the footage posted online, the woman is seen pulling hair off the camel and putting it into her handbag while visiting Dalian Forest Zoo in Liaoning province last Tuesday, reported the South China Morning Post.

People near the woman are heard telling her to stop. Camels are fenced off from the public at the zoo and there is a sign saying "Don't touch the animals".

The zoo's administration urged people to forgive the woman, pointing out that the hair easily came off the camel and it was unharmed because it was moulting.

However, it also pledged to enhance surveillance to prevent such behaviour.

But Internet users were scathing in their criticism.

"Are you going to use it to knit a scarf?" one Internet user wrote.

Another said: "She's taking advantage of her old age."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Unruly tourist destroys stalagmite in Chinese cave'. Print Edition | Subscribe