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China: Golden Week Holiday Chaos

The week-long National Day holiday has again brought chaos in major tourist areas due to under-capacity – news and images about trapped tourists, and dirty tourist spots full of trash have spread across micro-blogs. The situation is frustrating and some suggest that it is about time to review the Golden Week Holiday policy.

Golden Week is a term used in mainland China to describe the 7-day national holiday during Lunar New Year in February and National Day in October. The policy was introduced back in 1999 to promote domestic tourism and consumption. This year, because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the National Day Golden Week started earlier and within the first three days, the whole country was full of chaos.

Hu Chuanchun puts together [zh] all the chaotic scenes into a collage and sums up the situation in his micro-blog:

Hu Chuanchun puts together all the chaotic scenes into a collage.

【全国河山一片乱】国庆长假刚三天,全国河山一片乱:高速拥堵,大巴着火,香港沉船,台湾免签,三亚海滩成垃圾场,鼓浪屿“沦陷”,西湖见人不见桥,黄山游客爆满,华山、武夷山、普陀山、三清山游客滞留被困,九寨沟深夜12点赴沟道路纹丝不动,故宫人山人海,长城不分内外……

[The whole country in chaos] Within the first three days of the national day holiday, the whole country has fallen into chaos: Highways are all blocked with traffic; bus on fire; boat sunk in Hong Kong; Taiwan visa-free [to the U.S]; Sanya beach has turned into a rubbish field; Gulang Island has fallen; The bridge of West Lake has been buried in crowds; Huangshan has no more room for tourists; thousands of tourists were trapped in Mount Hua, Wuyi mountains, Mount Putuo and Sanqingshan; last night around 12 a.m, the road leading to Jiuzhaigou Valley was still blocked; the Forbidden City was filled up with people and one could not distinguish which side is the inner side of the Great Wall.

The chaos in Mount Hua has become the news [zh] headline in local media outlets. Up to 10 thousand tourists were trapped on top of the mount with no shelter and food in cold and rain, while the mountain cable car could not cater for the needs of so many tourists. On the other hand, the hostels raised the rental price per bed to 1000 yuan [approximately USD120] per night. Beijing micro-blogger Yuanyuan who was in Mount Hua yesterday described [zh] the situation:

华山出事了~封山不售票了,特警进山了~所有来华山的公共交通都被中断了,铁路也被断了~山上好多被困的人,下山的旅游公交枢纽不堪重负也处于瘫痪状态,并且伴有民众暴乱的迹象~上、下山的路全部水泄不通~拥挤、谩骂、打架的,随处可见,真心害怕了,我想回家

Bad things are happening in Mount Hua, they have stopped selling tickets and police have entered the mountain. All public transportation to Mount Hua is now cut. Many people are trapped on top of the mountain. Over-crowding for the down-hill transportation system. Riots may take place as all the down-hill paths are blocked with people. People are squeezing, cursing and fist-fighting… I am scared. I want to go home.

She updated [zh] the situation after sunset:

天黑了山上滞留了几万游客,并且真的暴乱了,发生了流血事件~被滞留的旅客要砸车泄愤,山下旅游车不敢上山接人怕被砸车~山上好多老人和小孩,有没有人去救救她们~晚上山里没路灯,气温又低,山路又陡,人又多,也没吃东西的地方,先特么的把老人孩子都接下山吧~快来救人~

Night comes and there are still thousands of tourists stuck on top. Riots did happen – some tourists were hitting the cars to express their anger and tourist buses dared not enter the mountain. There are so many elderly and children, someone should go there and help them out. The paths are so dark at night and weather so cold. The hilly paths are dangerous and filled up with people. No food and no shelters, save the elderly and children first. Act quickly.

This morning three boats near Gulang Island suddenly caught on fire [zh]. The accident may also be related to the limited-capacity problem as Xiamen Wang Shuo described the situation:

#鼓浪屿#【2012#鼓浪屿“沦陷”记#】人人人人人人人人人人人人人人人!!!请看十一鼓浪屿各种沦陷。鼓浪屿你会不会压沉?10.1,鼓浪屿游客破10万,而岛内最佳游客接待量为1.7万。上日光岩的道路,3分钟挪动1米。向登岛者致敬!

[2012 the "fall" of Gulang Island] People, people, people, people!!! Please take a look at the fall of Gulang Island. Will you sink, Gulang island? October 1, more than 100 thousands tourists in Guland Island. But the optimal capacity for tourists is just 17 thousand. It took 3 minutes to move 1 meter in the path leading to Sunshine rock. Hurray, visitors!

In Sanya beach, after the mid autumn festival 50 tons of trash was spread across a 3 km coastline.

Addressing the limited-capacity problem of tourist facilities, a Qinghua scholar Cai Jiming suggested abolishing the Golden Week Policy and replacing it with annual holidays so as to allow employees to choose when exactly to take their paid leave. But it seems that ordinary people don't understand his proposal and think that the annual leave system will cut short their paid holiday.

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