Chinese tourists ignore warnings, clamber over ancient horse statues

Visitors filmed taking photographs and climbing on the historical relics dating back to the Song dynasty about 1,000 years ago

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 3:42pm

Tourists have ignored warnings and scrambled on top of two stone statues of horses dating back about 1,000 years at a temple in northern China during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Video footage shows children and adults climbing on top of the statues outside the White Horse Temple in Luoyang in Henan province, the streaming site Pear Video reported. The site is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China.

The statues date to the Song dynasty (960-1279) and are said to have been moved here from the tomb of a general and son-in-law of the emperor.

Both statues are fenced off with stone railings, but that failed to deter tourists from approaching. In fact, the railings are used by many as a handy step to climb onto the tall statues.

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The video footage shows up to four children riding a stone horse at one time, helped by their parents.

A vendor on the square said tourists had repeatedly been told not to climb the statues, but they could not be stopped because there were just too many people. Many Chinese people visit temples during the Lunar New Year holiday to burn incense and pray for good fortune to mark the beginning of the new year.

One person is heard shouting in the video footage: “The horse is a relic from the Song dynasty, no climbing allowed!” The warning, however, fell on deaf ears.

A monk is also seen hurrying over, asking a woman to get off a statue.

“Get off! How could you climb it when you’re at this age already,” the monk upbraided the woman, who was posing for a photo on the statue.

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China’s government announced three years ago it has created a “tourist blacklist” to name and shame misbehaving tourists.

But that appears to have only had a minimal impact. Photographs and videos of badly behaved tourists regularly surface on Chinese social media, particularly during holiday seasons.

The video of tourists riding on the historical relics came after an American man’s theft of a Chinese terracotta warrior statue’s thumb while it was on display in the US created outrage in China.