Chinese tourists’ selfie mania destroys rare pink grass
Area of park has to be cut down to protect it only two weeks after blooming as tourists ignore barriers
A field of pink, cloud-like muhly grass flowers in a park in eastern China had to be cut down on Sunday after it was trampled by selfie-seeking tourists, it was reported.
The flowers of pink muhly grass stay in bloom for about two months during autumn, but those in the Binjiang riverside park in the city of Hangzhou were completely destroyed two weeks after they started blooming around October 1, Shanghai-based news portal Thepaper.cn reported.
Photos published by Chinese media outlets show tourists ignoring the rope barriers to enter the 10-acre area of grass and flattening patches of the long-stemmed grass to sit or lie on for photos. One person was even found with a spotlight to help take selfies at midnight, the park’s caretaker Zheng Xianhua told Thepaper.cn.
Zheng has spent three years tending to the pink muhly grass, which was imported from Australia. Her voice had turned hoarse from shouting at tourists, Thepaper.cn reported.
The number of tourists peaked over the weekend, and the caretakers felt they had no choice but to cut down all the grass to protect it and make sure it blooms again next year, the report stated.
Commenters on Chinese social media platform WeChat criticised the behaviour of the tourists. One user surnamed Hai said: “No matter how pretty the pictures are, it will be embarrassing to post them now.”
Others expressed pity for the caretakers, saying it was inconceivable why anybody would want to step into the field and destroy the grass.
Pink muhly grass has been trending on Chinese social media, including on livestreaming platforms such as TikTok. Parks in the cities of Hanzhong, in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, and Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan province, have also been swarmed by tourists looking for selfies, videos published by Thepaper.cn show.
Chinese tourists often go to extreme lengths for selfies. In one recent case, Chinese-speaking tourists attacked a swan in Switzerland while trying to force a photo opportunity, triggering social media outrage in China.