Can YOU bear it? Video showing Chinese tourists washing their feet in a UNESCO heritage site sparks debate
Footage showing dozens of visitors washing their feet in a famous Chinese lake has ignited a heated discussion on whether or not the behaviour is acceptable.
In the video clips from last week, tourists young and old are seen dipping their bare feet into the UNESCO-listed West Lake while relaxing on the embankment.
While some web users called the visitors 'rude' and 'uncivilised'; others came to their defence, arguing that the lake is not a source of drinking water and those visitors were simply enjoying nature.
The controversial videos were taken on the night of July 7 along the Jindai Bridge and Broken Bridge at the north side of the 650-hectare lake, according to Zhejiang News.
West Lake, one of the 53 UNESCO World Heritage sites in China, has always been regarded as a romantic scenic spot by the Chinese public, having inspired poets and painters for thousands of years.
Apparently, such phenomenon is not new.
Similar reports could be traced back to 2013, when the news of 'thousands of tourists' putting their feet into the freshwater lake made headlines on newspapers.
It's said that at the time, security guards had to set up loudspeakers to blast out the message: 'Dear visitors, please do not put your hands or feet into the lake. Please enjoy the lake in a civilised way.'
After the latest videos were shared on Chinese social media this week, web users have expressed different point of views.
Some said the act spoiled the picturesque scenery and turned the celebrated lake into a 'public feet-washing basin'.
While others argued that the habit of washing or bathing in public had been observed for centuries, and it did not cause harm the environment.
A trending hashtag, called 'West Lake becomes a feet-washing basin', has gathered more than 960,000 views on Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Some users considered the action 'obscene' and 'indecent' and compared it to graffiti vandalism.
One such commentator, who claimed to be a Hangzhou resident, stressed that West Lake is not a public bathhouse, but a scenic spot.
Another user, clearly upset by the tourists, wrote: 'The fish are going to die because of their smelly feet.'
On the other hand, there are also many people who did not see it as a problem at all. They claimed that it was a normal way for people to relax at the tourist spot. One even said that he 'did it all the time' when he was a child and was never caught.
'As long as they didn't fall into the lake, what's wrong with putting their feet in the water?' A user called 'XibianrichuV' said.
“只要他们不掉进水里，把脚放在水里又有什么错呢?” 一位名叫 'XibianrichuV' 的用户说。
Some emphasised those tourists did not bring any harm to the environment or pollute the water, therefore it should be within their rights to do so.
'If this can easily pollute the lake, Mother Nature could have died long time ago,' wrote 'Linglingzifeng'.
In fact, chief officer Miao Qitao at West Lake Waters Management told People's Dailythat West Lake could purify the water itself.
'We started a programme to grow seaweed at the bottom of the lake in order to cleanse the water in 2011.
'The water quality is improving year by year thanks to the 31-hectare seaweed planted under the water.'
West Lake was listed as an UNESCO world heritage site in 2011.
The committee praised the area's beautiful scenery and the inspiration it had provided to painters and poets.
The lake, decorated with numerous temples, pagodas, and gardens, inspires people to 'project feelings onto the landscape', stated the UNESCO committee.
原创翻译：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/45561.html 译者：Joyceliu
Titania__, Nowhere, Equatorial Guinea, about 2 hours ago
They are not poisoning the waters, and certainly not defiling it in any way. Why the drama?!