Chinese tourist town pledges to clean up act after attacks, scams

Communist Party boss says tourism market in Lijiang will be regulated with an ‘iron fist’, news website reports

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 8:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 4:22pm

Officials in a famous tourist town in southwest China have pledged to clean up its image after a series of attacks on visitors and allegations that tourists are overcharged and the victims of scams.

The Communist Party secretary in Lijiang in Yunnan province told a meeting attended by nearly 1,500 people involved in the tourism industry last Friday that the authorities would regulate the market this year with an iron fist, the news website reported.

“There will be nothing too small for Lijiang’s attention. We will find fault with anyone who affects the town’s tourism market and environment,” party boss Luo Jie was quoted as saying.

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An attack on two young women at a barbecue restaurant in the town by a gang of about a dozen young men in November was prominently covered by the media in China.

One of the victims released photographs showing her scarred face with swollen eyes and a long deep gash the length of her nose.

The two had complained about their experiences in Lijiang when they were attacked with beer bottles.

One woman was dragged into the street and slashed across the face.

Lijiang police said six men have been arrested and charged over the attack. Police also criticised the public for failing to protect tourists after a series of similar incidents.

An officer in charge of the police social media account later alleged the woman was attacked because she was cheating on her boyfriend in Lijiang. The woman protested, the post was deleted and the officer reprimanded.

Another man posted photographs two years ago of his scarred face after he was attacked by local men with bars in Lijiang.

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Earlier this month, a family of eight were attacked at a restaurant in the town after a dispute over slow service. Four people were placed in detention for 15 days after the incident, according to the town’s police.

The National Tourism Administration issued a warning to visitors travelling to Lijiang in October 2015 after allegations that tourists were scammed, including accusations that taxi drivers overcharged visitors. The advisory was lifted last year.