Fake Ter­ra­cotta War­riors routed

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUO YAN and MA LIE in Xi’an

Sev­eral pla­toons of fake Ter­ra­cotta War­riors were smashed to bits in Xi’an early on Thurs­day af­ter the city launched a crack­down on mis­lead­ing mu­se­ums and tricky tour guides.

Of­fi­cials from the Shaanxi provin­cial cap­i­tal’s pub­lic se­cu­rity, tourism and com- merce bu­reaus de­stroyed 40 copy­cat stat­ues at the Suyuan Qin Ter­ra­cotta Army, a pri­vately owned at­trac­tion, af­ter com­plaints of scams tar­get­ing tourists.

Xi’an is home to the world­fa­mous Qin Shi­huang Ter­ra­cotta War­riors and Horses Mu­seum, which has thou­sands of life-size stat­ues of sol­diers, horses and car­riages dat­ing back to the Qin Dy­nasty (221-206 BC).

Au­thor­i­ties were alerted af­ter a vis­i­tor from Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, posted on WeChat this month about be­ing cheated in late 2016 by a fake po­lice of­fi­cer, fake taxi driver and fake tour guide, who took him to an at­trac­tion pos­ing as a Ter­ra­cotta War­riors mu­seum.

Af­ter see­ing the com­plaint, the city’s Party sec­re­tary, Wang Yongkang, or­dered of­fi­cials in Lin­tong dis­trict, which houses the real mu­seum, to in­ves­ti­gate and clean up the tourism mar­ket.

“The Ter­ra­cotta War­riors and Horses are one of the world’s won­ders and at­tract mil­lions of do­mes­tic and for­eign tourists ev­ery year,” he said.

The stat­ues were un­earthed in 1974 about a kilo­me­ter from the Mau­soleum of Qin Shi­huang, rest­ing place of the first em­peror of a uni­fied China. They quickly be­came one of the na­tion’s hottest tourism des­ti­na­tions.

In 2016, the mu­seum logged 120 mil­lion vis­i­tors.

With the tourism boom, a num­ber of pri­vate scenic spots opened around the mau­soleum, some of which have been cheat­ing tourists.

Qi Zhiqiang, a re­tired driver, said a tour bus owner he used to work for could make 6,000 yuan ($870) from 30 tourists on a one-day bus tour to the mau­soleum and mu­seum.

“We liked to send the tourists to the pri­vate scenic spots be­cause some 50 per­cent of our tour earn­ings was from com­mis­sions paid by the scenic spots, shops and restau­rants,” he said.

Xia Nian, a col­lege stu­dent in Bei­jing, filed a re­port with Xi’an po­lice last week af­ter an un­li­censed bus took her on a one-day tour to see fake Ter­ra­cotta War­riors.

“I was on the way home to Gansu prov­ince for my win­ter va­ca­tion and stopped in Xi’an to visit the war­riors, but I was cheated by be­ing shown the fake ones and paid nearly twice what it costs to visit the real mu­seum,” the city po­lice quoted her as say­ing. “There were some il­le­gal one-day tour buses around the rail­way sta­tion and I could not dis­tin­guish be­tween the il­le­gal and le­gal buses.”

Liu San­min, head of Lin­tong dis­trict gov­ern­ment, said his dis­trict had or­ga­nized teams with po­lice and of­fi­cials of con­cerned de­part­ments to crack down on the il­le­gal tour buses and guides and to re­store or­der to the city’s tourism mar­ket.

“We will res­o­lutely erad­i­cate the sources of tourism chaos and pun­ish the il­le­gal busi­ness­men as well as gov­ern­ment agen­cies and of­fi­cials who are in­ef­fec­tive in rec­ti­fy­ing the tourism mar­ket,” Liu said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

One of 40 fake Ter­ra­cotta War­riors is smashed in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day night.

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