Is graf­fiti zone on moun­tain a good idea?

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XUJINGXI in Guangzhou xujingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A scenic area in Guang­dong prov­ince has opened a zone for tourists to write or draw on bam­boo shoots to pre­vent them from scrib­bling on his­toric relics or pro­tected nat­u­ral at­trac­tions.

The mea­sure has aroused great con­tro­versy.

In the graf­fiti zone, a bam­boo for­est cov­er­ing about 1.3 hectares on Jinzi Moun­tain, tourists have in­scribed mes­sages on nearly 200 of 3,000 or so shoots of bam­boo since the zone was opened on Oct 1, the start of the week­long Na­tional Day hol­i­day, ac­cord­ing to Zeng Linghua, gen­eral man­ager of the Jinzi Moun­tain re­sort.

The graf­fiti zone has stirred a heated dis­cus­sion on­line, with many peo­ple crit­i­ciz­ing the re­sort for play­ing on an in­ap­pro­pri­ate ges­ture by some tourists that has de­stroyed the en­vi­ron­ment and sab­o­taged his­toric relics in the past.

Zeng said he had an­tic­i­pated that the spe­cial zone would cause con­tro­versy.

“The spe­cial zone is not meant to en­cour­age tourists to scrib­ble on trees,” he said.

“But if some tourists have a strong de­sire to mark their trips by carv­ing their names or mes­sages some­where, I think it may be a good idea to ear­mark a zone for them to fully ex­press their feel­ings so that they won’t do so in the rest of the scenic area.”

“Rather than sim­ply keep say­ing no, this may be a more ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent van­dal­ism,” he added.

Zeng said the type of bam­boo was easy to grow and is not a pro­tected species.

He said that for­est rangers will re­move ob­scene words and il­le­gal mes­sages if they spot any and that shav­ing off the bark won’t in­flu­ence the bam­boo’s growth.

No such words or mes­sages have been dis­cov­ered since the spe­cial zone’s open­ing, but a warn­ing board will be set up, Zeng added.

In ad­di­tion to Jinz­iMoun­tain, the Bam­boo Sea, a tourist at­trac­tion in Yibin, Sichuan prov­ince, ear­marked a spe­cial zone for vis­i­tors to carve on bam­boo in 2013.

An ad­min­is­tra­tive di­rec­tor in Bam­boo Sea’s mar­ket­ing depart­ment told China Daily that graf­fiti in the scenic area has been re­duced sub­stan­tially since the spe­cial zone was opened.

Many tourist at­trac­tions in China have fallen vic­tim to graf­fiti, in­clud­ing the GreatWall.

Pho­tos of a young Chi­nese cou­ple carv­ing their names on the Great Wall with keys while climb­ing the an­cient won­der dur­ing the Na­tional Day hol­i­day went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

Great Wall au­thor­i­ties set aside ar­eas for graf­fiti in the Mu­tianyu sec­tion in 2014, but that didn’t stop peo­ple from carv­ing their names in other places.

“We can­not rely on launch­ing ‘forests for carv­ing’ to stop tourists from van­dal­iz­ing tourist sites, just as we can­not re­duce theft by launch­ing ‘forests for steal­ing’,” said Sun Dao­jin, a pro­fes­sor of en­vi­ron­men­tal phi­los­o­phy at South­west Univer­sity, in a post on his mi­cro blog at peo­ple.com.cn.

“The key to solv­ing the prob­lem lies in tourists’ aware­ness and scenic ar­eas’ man­age­ment.”

ZENG LINGHUA / FOR CHINA DAILY

A vis­i­tor writes on a bam­boo shoot in a pub­lic graf­fiti zone on Jinzi Moun­tain in Guang­dong prov­ince.

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