File photo:The Beijing News
Spring has already come. With the approach of warmer weather, cherry blossoms, ablaze with color and beauty, are in full bloom. The bright petals dance with a gentle spring breeze and fall in riotous profusion. Being obsessed with the picturesque scenery, throngs of Chinese visitors swarm to must-see attractions such as Wuhan University in Central China's Hubei Province to party under the trees.
However, the romance of the cherry blossom season has been somewhat spoiled by the misdeeds of some tourists. A man was caught on video violently shaking a tree to make petals fall in a pink rain. Worse, his misbehavior was applauded by surrounding tourists.
The video sparked a public outcry online, especially among Wuhan University students. Many condemned the visitors' behavior. "You cannot appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms if you lack respect for them. We feel deeply disappointed by the increasingly notorious misbehavior of our 'guests,'" posted one typical student.
Some tourists were seen climbing trees, bending branches and trashing the campus with wrapping paper and packaging.
Not only in China. Japan's cherry blossom season has also witnessed Chinese tourists defacing the gorgeous trees. In April 2016, a few Chinese visitors were photographed climbing Japan's iconic cherry trees, grabbing branches and plucking flowers from trees to put in their hair, all in the pursuit of capturing some pretty snaps.
Japanese media even coined a term to describe this embarrassment, which loosely translates as "Chinese-style flower appreciation." They even called for the creation of a "Chinese-only" zone so as to limit their damaging effect on the cherry blossoms.
It is believed Wuhan University opens to the public free of charge to let visitors enjoy the cherry blossom and enhance exchanges and interactions between students and the ordinary people in their community. The university once peaked at 200,000 visits a day appreciating the natural scenery. The uncivilized tourists brought chaos and hassle to campus and disrupted the normal life of students. A few Chinese people still lack respect for others' rights and social order.
File photo:Hubei Daily
Misbehaving Chinese travelers and sightseers at home and abroad have made global headlines, staining China's national image. A report last year released by the then China National Tourism Administration found that ill-behaved Chinese tourists have been criticized in overseas tourism destinations and outbound Chinese tourists' manners ranked quite low.
The development of cultured standards seemingly lags behind growing material well-being. Most of the ill-behaved tourists are not well-educated. On the one hand, their knowledge of the destination and its culture remains outdated or inadequate. On the other, they usually turn a blind eye to social rules and local customs.
Bad-mannered tourists have also not been seriously punished. Although China rolled out a national tourism law in 2013 to regulate the behavior of tourists, guides and business owners at sites, law enforcement and supervision were not as stringent as expected.
The Chinese government, travel agencies and school authorities should take the initiative to educate our tourists. It is also necessary to educate people about good manners from a young age, which would pave the way for a more civilized tourism.
Unruly tourists should be fined or even blacklisted. School authorities should limit visits per day and ask visitors to register their personal identification before entering campus. University students can also be encouraged to provide tour guide services and send photos and videos of ill-mannered tourists to official Weibo and WeChat accounts of school authorities and tourism watchdogs.
Defacing cherry trees is a form of personal gratification that spoils the beauty everyone deserves to enjoy. The cherry blossom season could be more enchanting if only tourists behaved themselves.