Sanya sunbather strips nude in violation of ban, claiming health benefits

Hainan authorities arrest a naked sunbather from Harbin who says he disregarded a ban on nudism because his doctor advised him to go somewhere sunny and warm for treatment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 12:18pm

A man detained by police for sunbathing in the nude on a beach in the popular resort city of Sanya on Hainan Island after a government ban on nudity has insisted that he needed to expose his naked body to the sun as a therapy for his multiple illnesses.

Sun Jianguo, 58, a native of the northeastern city of Harbin in Heilongjiang province, was the first person to be punished under the ban after he ignored the authorities’ warning and twice removed his underwear on Dadonghai Beach during an official crackdown. He was put under administrative detention for five days, the Chengdu Economic Daily reported.

On February 6 Sanya’s city government issued an official notice banning nudists from beaches and warned that offenders may face up to 10 days in jail. The action was taken after numerous tourists had filed complaints against nudists on public beaches.

After Sun was released, he told reporters he violated the rules because he had needed to sunbathe as therapy for multiple diseases – including depression, cardiovascular disease and hyperthyroidism. His doctor had advised him to go to somewhere sunny and warm to avoid the long and dark winter in Harbin, Sun claimed.

“I cried during lock-up and felt shameful,” he said. “I still love the sea and the sunshine but I shall never go back to the same place.”

Critics have claimed that that legal enforcement of the ban is inconsistent and that Dadonghai beach does not have any permanent warning signs telling people to cover up.

Former Sanya mayor Lu Zhiyuan had earlier ruled out the possibility of establishing a local nudist beach there.

Sun said that after sun bathing he felt delightful and did not need his pills. “Winter in Sanya is like summer in Harbin,” he said. “I don’t feel shameful among other nudists.”

As Sanya has tightened its attitude toward nudists, Sun and others with similar needs may look for their sunshine treatment elsewhere.