From October 1, the people of China have been enjoying a well-deserved break, with most of the nation having a full week off in which to relax, head out to see the sights, and imbibe a little culture. Judging by these photos, however, unless their idea of having a good time includes getting up close and personal with a few million other tourists and waiting in long, long lines, we have a feeling these sightseers are going to be wishing they hadn’t bothered leaving the house.
With a population as enormous as China’s, it’s perhaps inevitable that the more popular tourist spots should be completely overrun at this time of year, but even China’s own netizens were shocked to see photos taken at locations like the Great Wall of China looking more like a mass exodus than a fun day out.
▼ Was the Great Wall ever this packed even in its heyday!?
According to reports, an estimated 80,000 people had climbed the steps of Beijing’s Forbidden City by 11 a.m. on the second day of the public holiday, surpassing the record set just a day before by some 10,000 visitors. We can’t even begin to imagine how many people must have passed through the imperial palace by the end of the day.
And of course, where there are people there is also waste. Chinese news agencies are reporting that, on October 1 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square alone, roughly five tons of rubbish was collected. Furthermore, owing to the enormous crowds at this time of year, there are multiple cases of people collapsing from dehydration and heat stroke, many of whom not receiving treatment for some time until emergency services can penetrate the sea of tourists.
While Japan is by no means in a position to judge (climbing Mount Fuji during the long weekend in July is less of a physical challenge than a mental one as hikers spend hours waiting in line to traverse the narrow paths) it is becoming painfully obvious that for a country with a population the size of China’s, having such limited holiday periods that prompt its people to travel all at once may not be the best idea.
Seeing the images online and broadcast on TV, many Chinese nationals were quick to comment.
“It’s like they went there to see other people”
“I’m out sightseeing right now. The amount of garbage around is shocking.”
“Seriously, just stay at home!”
“I was planning on going this weekend, but…”
“The problem is everyone has to take holidays at the same time.”
“Maybe we should do away with these long public holidays?”
We’re sure those working in the tourist industry and owners of shops, restaurants and stalls around these popular sightseeing spots positively live for public holidays such as these, but looking at these images we’re inclined to think that everyone would have a much better time if they didn’t have to visit along with, well, pretty much everyone else in the country.