A tourist attraction in inner Hubei province has taken an innovative approach to combat graffiti by installing large touch screens that allow visitors to create digital designs.
Administrative officials at Yellow Crane Tower Park in Wuhan have set up three giant electronic graffiti walls, each two metres tall, on different floors of the tower. Besides accessing transport and hotel information, tourists can also draw on the giant touch screens, allowing visitors to leave their marks at the famous tourist site on the Yangtze River without causing any permanent damage.
Staff at the park told Wuhan Evening News  that old drawings in the system would eventually be overwritten by new ones once the database was full. But visitors could preserve their drawings by emailing them to a their mailbox using wireless internet access, staff said.
The screens have been introduced in response to the widespread habit of Chinese tourists of defacing attractions and monuments, no matter how important or ancient they might be.
The most commonly-seen messages left by Chinese tourists are their names or “dao ci yi you”, meaning “have been here”.
The national penchant for defacing tourist sites not only has a negative aesthetic impact, but in many cases constitutes vandalism, resulting in permanent damage to some important sites.
In May, a Chinese boy from Nanjing disfigured a 3,500-year-old Egyptian temple by carving his name on it when he visited the popular ancient site with his parents.
The latest counter-measure by Yellow Crane Tower Park seems to be working well so far. Staff at the park told the News that new graffiti had almost disappeared and added that the park planned to install five more touch screens soon.